A REGIONAL centre will be set up in Bournemouth as part of efforts to distribute the coronavirus vaccines.
The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) has been booked by health leaders who decided against the alternative of the Pavilion which would have had a more limited capacity, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
The NHS-led programme is being organised in preparation for the potential availability of an approved vaccine in the coming weeks and to meet a requirement that systems be in place to administer it by the beginning of the month.
Doses are expected to begin to be delivered within the next week although only in “limited” numbers, with older care home residents, care home workers, those who are housebound and prisons due to be prioritised.
Widespread roll-out to the remaining high risk groups is expected in early 2021 with the use of mass vaccination hubs, including a regional centre at the BIC, and mobile sites across the rest of the county.
This has been confirmed by Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood who said Dorset Police would be involved in supporting the logistics of the work.
“On a regional basis, Bournemouth has been selected as a regional hub for this quadrant of the south of England,” he said. “I have pushed for this for a long time.”
Plans have been put together by the county’s NHS trusts in coordination with other bodies, including councils.
It has been agreed to set up a main vaccination hub at the BIC and that this will be supported by mobile sites provided across the rest of the county once larger quantities of doses become available.
Difficulties in meeting the -70C storage temperature required for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will mean Dorset County Hospital (DCH) will be used as a main distribution hub.
These arrangements were confirmed in reports published ahead of last week’s UHD and DCH board meetings.
Doctors’ surgeries will oversee the first vaccinations, and the report added they were “well prepared to start in early December”, before the wider rollout becomes possible in the following weeks.
Meanwhile, a Totton football club claimed it has been chosen as a local venue for Covid-19 vaccinations.
AFC Totton chair Wayne Mew said it was “very proud”, adding: “As a community club, AFC Totton see this as a momentous event in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic.”
However, organisers the NHS South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group said it could not yet confirm any venues for the vaccination in the New Forest or wider county area.