Wed 03 Feb 2021
The efforts of staff and volunteers working to vaccinate huge numbers of Warrington residents every day have been praised.
Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols and Warrington Borough Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden visited the vaccination centre at the Halliwell Jones Stadium to see the programme in action.
They met with Dr Dan Bunstone, GP Principal at Chapelford Medical Centre and clinical director of Warrington Innovation Network, who gave them a walkthrough of the site and explained how the vaccination scheme is progressing.
Thanks to collaborative working between the four primary care networks of Warrington Innovation, Warrington East, Warrington Central East and South Warrington, the centre is currently vaccinating around 1,000 patients per day.
As a result, the centre has now vaccinated approximately 15,000 Warrington residents, with this number set to rise rapidly in the coming weeks and months.
“We were more than happy for Russ and Charlotte to visit as it was a good opportunity for them to see what is happening,” Dr Bunstone said.
“They were very impressed with the organisation of the site after speaking with volunteers, and they did a walkthrough of the vaccine site as if they were a patient receiving a vaccine.
“They saw where you have your temperature taken, where you wait, where you can park your car and where you receive the vaccine.
“Now, when they get questions from constituents about the centre, they can inform them about exactly how everything works having been there themselves.”
The number of coronavirus vaccines being administered across the country has rocketed in recent weeks, with the UK immunising its highest total on Saturday in 598,389.
This national escalation is being mirrored here in Warrington.
“You can see how the vaccinations numbers across the country are getting bigger and bigger all the time,” Dr Bunstone continued.
“We are up to administering 1,000 people a day now, but we know we have a lot more to do.
“In total, we have done around 15,000 vaccinations at this site alone thanks to the four primary care networks and more than 20 GP surgeries working together.
“This collaboration has enabled the vaccine delivery across the town to be fast and effective.
“We really want and need to get patients vaccinated as soon as possible, and people should expect to be called up very soon indeed.”
Following her visit, Ms Nichols said: “I had the privilege of meeting the staff and volunteers working so hard to get Warrington vaccinated, and to see for myself just how smooth and well-managed the process is.
“Many of the volunteers told me what an emotional experience taking part in the local effort has been, particularly as for those receiving their vaccine, it can often be their first time leaving the house since last March.
“I want to thank Dr Dan Bunstone for the walkthrough and providing clarity on many of the questions and concerns I have had raised with me by people understandably nervous about the process.
“I also want to extend my thanks to all those who are helping to keep our town's most vulnerable residents safe and helping us back on our way to normal life. They truly are the best of us.”
Cllr Bowden added: “I was privileged to visit the vaccination site and witness first-hand how well-organised the whole operation is.
“Warrington truly has an outstanding health and social care workforce who, through this vaccination programme, are providing hope to so many of our communities.
“I would urge anyone who has been invited to get a vaccine, to come forward and attend. I can assure you it will be a safe, well-managed and stress-free process.”
As well as at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, vaccinations are currently being administered at Orford Jubilee Hub, as well as at some GP surgeries when supply allows.
Warrington patients who are eligible to receive the vaccine are also being invited to mass vaccination centres and pharmacy sites, with the closest centre being The Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens.
All elderly residents in care homes across Warrington have received their first vaccine doses, and the process to vaccinate residents with severe learning disabilities living in care homes is expected to be complete in the coming weeks.
Hospital hubs continue to vaccinate frontline health and social care staff, as well as patients in the top four priority groups if they are well enough to receive the vaccine.
Vaccination appointments are now being offered to people in the town over 70 and those who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
Warrington CCG is aiming to offer first doses of the vaccine to everyone in the top four priority groups in both boroughs by mid-February.
Despite the rapid pace of the vaccination programme, the NHS in Warrington is urging patients not to contact their GP practice about receiving the vaccine. Patients will be contacted when it is their turn.
Only patients over 80 who have not yet had an appointment should try to contact their GP practices to arrange a vaccination.
If you receive an invitation to book an appointment at a mass vaccination centre but would rather wait until you are offered one in Warrington, you are perfectly free and entitled to do so.