The Ashton Gate Stadium – usually associated with Bristol City Football Club or Bristol Bears Rugby – opened today as one of seven super vaccination centres in England.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be visiting the stadium this afternoon to talk to NHS staff at the centre – which will be open 12 hours a day and vaccinate thousands of people a week.
Set up by the army in December last year, the centre has taken over the south concourse of the stadium.
Run by the NHS clinical commissioning group – the vaccination centre is a self-contained space with enough room for social distancing and one way systems in place to ensure a safe and efficient delivery of the vaccine.
The other centres in England are located in London, Surrey, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Stevenage.
The first to have the vaccine are the four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
These cover all residents and staff in care homes for older adults, the over 70s, all frontline health and social care workers and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.
Managing Director of Ashton Gate, Mark Kelly, said: “Ashton Gate is proud to support the delivery of this vaccination programme. The stadium sits in the heart of the community and to be able to help in whatever way we can is a real honour.
“We have previously partnered with the NHS for Covid-testing here at the Stadium and it is perfectly set up to be able to help the NHS with this incredibly important programme…”
Clinical Lead for the NHS vaccination programme in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, Dr Tim Whittlestone, said: “We are delighted to be able to roll out the next phase of the vaccination programme in partnership with the Ashton Gate stadium.
“Our shared priority is a safe and effective roll-out for everyone in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Our local GPs, primary care networks and hospital staff have pulled out all the stops to begin vaccinating the over 80s, care home residents and some frontline health and social care staff to date.
“The new AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine coming onstream, alongside the increased capacity at Ashton Gate, should allow us to move through the prioritisation categories at pace. It’s a really exciting development, but it will still take time to reach everyone who needs to be vaccinated…”
In December 2020, Southmead became one of 50 hospital hubs to start vaccinating priority groups along with a number of Primary Care Networks at local GP sites. These included Bridge View Medical Centre in Marksbury Road and Stockwood Medical Centre.
Wait to be contacted
The NHS has urged that vaccinations will only be issued to those that have received their NHS vaccination invite and the vaccination centres will be operating strictly by appointment only.
Members of the public are asked not to arrive at the centres without prior appointment.
For government guidelines on the coronavirus visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus