IT’S BEING dubbed the final push: all adults in the South East are now able to book their first coronavirus jab, seven months after the vaccine was first made available in Wokingham.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said that this is “a watershed” moment in the programme, which has seen eight out of 10 adults receive at least their first dose, and 4.1 million people have had the second as well.
He said that the NHS was prepared for high demand from the remaining age groups after more than a million appointments in a single day were booked by twentysomethings when they become eligible for the jab.
All Wokingham borough residents aged 18-24 have been able to turn up at a walk-in vaccination clinic established in Bulmershe Leisure Centre as part of its surge testing programme, and nearly 900 people have done so since Tuesday.
The centre was initially open for only those younger people living in the surge test target wards of Bulmershe & Whitegates, Evendons, Norreys and Wescott but can now accommodate young people from across the borough. It will be open for vaccinations from 9.30am to 8.30pm daily.
The queue will close once the daily capacity has been reached, which is generally around 6.30 or 7pm.
Parking is available at the Woodley United FC/University of Reading car park on Woodlands Avenue. The postcode for this is RG6 1FR.
Parking will also be available at Addington School and Bulmershe School after 5.30pm.
All those coming to the centre for a vaccination must bring proof of address, proof of ID and should have their NHS number.
For more details, visit: www.wokingham.gov.uk/covid-19-vaccinations
Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health, well-being and adult social care said: “We had a great first two days vaccinating with over 900 people getting their first jabs. There are busy periods in the morning and early evening when the queues get a little longer, so if you don’t want to wait plan your visit during the quieter times from around midday to 3pm.
“We are appealing to all young adults in the borough to come out and get vaccinated. It’s so important – you may feel perfectly healthy and have no symptoms (one third of people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms). To protect yourself and your older family and friends, get the jab.
“We’ve worked with the NHS to bring this great opportunity for younger adults in Wokingham Borough to get a jab early and I am sure we will see a lot more of them coming along in coming days.”
Residents aged 21 and over are encouraged to continue to book a Covid-19 vaccination at a mass vaccination centre through the NHS website.
Across England, the NHS has delivered more than 60 million vaccinations just six months after making history when Margaret Keenan received the approved vaccine in Coventry.
Vaughan Lewis, NHSEI South East Medical Director said: “This is a remarkable moment for the South East and England as whole and, if you are aged 18 or older and are yet to book your covid jab, today should be the day you make that happen.
“Only months after delivering the world-first first jab hard working NHS staff in the South East have given more than 9.5million vaccinations, saving thousands of lives and giving the entire country hope for a brighter future.
“Extensive planning and the tireless work of staff and volunteers have made the NHS vaccine programme an historic success.”
He added: “We are now delivering a final push to protect people across the South East against Covid-19 so if you haven’t already had your jab then please come forward and make your first appointment.”
When invited, people will be able to book at one of the 1,600 vaccination centres, pharmacies or general practice sites across the country that are available through the national booking service.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’ and include a web link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment.
People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.
People aged 39 and under who are eligible and pregnant women will be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in line.