Video: Newbury Racecourse coronavirus vaccination centre closes with 66,500th dose
THE Newbury Racecourse Vaccination Centre administered its last coronavirus vaccine today (Wednesday).
The hub was a collaboration between nine local surgeries – Strawberry Hill, Eastfield, Downland, Falkland, Burdwood, Thatcham, Hungerford, Lambourn, and Kintbury & Woolton Hill – and has administered 66,500 jabs to the people of West Berkshire since it first opened in January.
The final patient received their second AstraZeneca vaccine at 3pm.
Around 500 people were involved in the running of the vaccination operation, from medical staff to the hundreds of volunteers who saw people through the whole process.
Newbury Racecourse will be offering all volunteers and surgery staff a complimentary ticket for live racing on Thursday, July 1, with the addition of a special race title in their honour ‘Newbury Racecourse Vaccination Volunteers Handicap Stakes’ and a special presentation.
Beverley Sunderland, who heads up the volunteer programme, said: "The volunteers who have stood out in the snow, wind and rain for the last six months are a credit to our community.
"We are so grateful to the racecourse for all of their support during this time – it’s been a true team effort and we are looking forward to enjoying an evening with them and the staff from the nine surgeries on July 1.”
People can now book jabs via the National Booking System and secure an appointment at either the Kennet Shopping centre, Boots or one of the other sites in West Berkshire.
Marketing director for Newbury Racecourse, Harriet Collins, said: “We are immensely proud of the small part the racecourse has played in the rollout of the vaccine across West Berkshire, but the real heroes are the incredible staff of the nine surgeries involved in the rollout of the vaccine and the wonderful volunteers who have given up their time over the last six months.
“We are so looking forward to welcoming them back to the racecourse for some live action on July 1 and the Newbury Racecourse Vaccination Volunteers Handicap Stakes.”
Announcing the closure in May, the centre 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 centre said: "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."
July 1 marks the start of Newbury’s Gin Thursday Evening fixtures, where a maximum crowd of 4,000 will be able to attend, with gates opening from 3.30pm.
Limited tickets are still available to purchase with prices starting from £20 and a variety of hospitality options including the brand-new Parade Ring lawn. Book now by visiting www.newburyracecourse.co.uk