Newbury Racecourse coronavirus vaccination centre to close in June
WEST Berkshire's coronavirus vaccination hub at Newbury Racecourse is to close next month.
The centre, run by nine GP surgeries in the district and an army of volunteers, opened in January and administered its 50,000th vaccination on Sunday.
In a statement on social media, clinical leads running the hub said: "The Covid-19 Vaccination Program has been running successfully from the Newbury Racecourse Vaccination Centre and alongside other providers has achieved an amazing uptake across West Berkshire for the high risk Cohorts 1-9.
"Second doses for these cohorts will continue to be administered at the centre, but after much thought and due to a combination of factors, operations will be stepped down and stopped from mid-June when administration of second doses has been completed.
"We are immensely grateful to the support that the Vaccination Centre has received. Huge thanks go to the 400-strong army of volunteers, to Newbury Racecourse and their staff, and to the nine participating surgeries and their teams. The dedication, hard work, determination and goodwill from all involved has been integral to the success of the programme to date."
The centre said plans were being finalised for a provider to open an alternative vaccination site at Boots in Northbrook Street, set to be operational in early May and available to book through the national system. Another site is being set up in the Kennet Centre.
GPs said that the racecourse hub was being wound down to "allow the GPs, nurses, other clinical and administrative staff to focus on providing core primary care services from practices again now that life is beginning to return to some level of normality".
The Newbury hub advised people within cohorts 1-9, aged over 50 or over 18 but with certain underlying health conditions, who have not had their first vaccination to contact their GP surgery via its website or book an appointment through the national booking service.
It added that appointment slots were being added to the national booking system all the time and a number of sites within a 30 minute drive of Newbury were available.
The vaccination programme has now been opened up nationally to under 50s, with those 40 and over being invited first.
The racecourse hub we will not be offering vaccinations to people in cohorts 10-12, those aged 18 to 49.
People who have received their first dose at the racecourse will be contacted by their surgery just before 11 weeks after the first jab to allow people to book in.