A Corby hotel will be the site of the county's latest Covid-19 vaccination hub when it opens tomorrow (Thursday).
The Raven Hotel in Rockingham Road will host pharmacy-led Pfizer jabs for anyone aged 18 or over in a bid to improve access to the vaccine in the town.
The new site is being managed by Regent Pharmacy. The clinic is currently offering bookable vaccination appointments between 9am and 6pm on July 1, 8, 11, 18 and 19, with further sessions to be confirmed.
And a drop-in clinic will also be available at the Raven Hotel this Sunday (July 4) between 9am and 6pm, offering the AstraZeneca jab for people aged 40 and over and those who have had a first dose of AZ at least eight weeks previously (on or before May 9), with no appointment required.
Chris Pallot, director of Northamptonshire’s Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: “I am pleased to confirm this latest addition to our vaccination offer for the people of Corby, adding to the existing pharmacy-led site at Spencer Court and the vaccination services at local GP premises.
"It’s fantastic that we can offer more choice to people in Corby on where to get the vaccine and this is another step on our path back to normal life.
“I would encourage everyone eligible who hasn’t yet to come forward to book a vaccine appointment slot. We have plenty of vaccine stocks available and all of our pharmacy-led sites are now offering the Pfizer vaccine.”
In a list of 347 local authorities measuring a proportion of adults who have had a first dose of vaccine, Corby is 308th.
Up to June 28, 67 per cent of people in Corby had received one jab with 47.5 per cent having both doses.
Corby's slow uptake comes after we revealed last month that Lakeside surgery, the biggest in the town, had opted out of delivering vaccines to under-40s.
Corby and East Northamptonshire Constituency Labour Party chairman, Ian Cameron, said people in the town are desperate for the vaccine.
But with no walk-in centre, he said many who are unemployed or among the town's thousands of warehouse workers struggle for appointments.
In a letter to MP Tom Pursglove earlier this week, he said: "It has been brought to our attention by some of our members that although they are desperate to have the vaccination the youngest, and most vulnerable people in the town, are unable to go to a walk-in centre.
"There are NONE available anywhere near the town itself. Checking the NHS website this morning, those between the ages of 18 and under 40 would have to travel to Melton Mowbray,
Leicester, Peterborough or Northampton to access a walk-in centre.
"The alternative is to book an appointment but these are scarce in Corby for this age group. For young people that have possibly no employment, or working shifts in a warehouse and most likely cannot afford their own transport, this means that despite the Government urging everyone to get the vaccine, our young people are unable to avail themselves of this NHS service."
Appointments for slots at the new Raven Hotel site be made via the national booking service on the NHS website or by calling 119.
Akshay Patel, superintendent pharmacist at Regent Pharmacy, said: “We are delighted to be delivering vaccinations in Corby. We are looking forward to meeting the community and vaccinating as many people as we can at the Raven Hotel.
“The Regent Pharmacy is very experienced at delivering clinics of this kind. In addition to the site in Corby, we currently run a further two Covid-19 vaccination sites, one from our pharmacy base in Northampton and one in Wellingborough.
“We have a well-led clinical team and well-trained vaccinators working from the Corby site, so people will be in really good hands. We’re also getting brilliant support from the volunteers from the GoodSAM programme who help our clinics flow smoothly.”
Nabeel Amirudin, clinical lead for Regent Pharmacy said: “We are hoping our Corby team will be very busy and that everyone who is eligible comes along to get their Covid vaccine to protect themselves and others.
“We really want the vaccine uptake to be as high as possible. The clinic sessions are already starting to get booked up, which is really positive.
“We always aim to make the vaccination experience as simple and smooth as possible and our team will help people to feel at ease. The Raven Hotel is a well-known local venue so people should be able to find the site easily. The hotel staff are being very accommodating and supporting us by making sure the local community feels really welcome, safe and comfortable while they are at the hotel.”