Published: 11:41, 22 January 2021
| Updated: 20:16, 22 January 2021
Yesterday it was revealed that a large scale vaccine site would open in Folkestone from next week but the exact location was not released.
It can now be revealed it will open in the town's former Debenhams shop, in Sandgate Road on Tuesday.
The site will increase the number of vaccinations it delivers in the weeks ahead and will operate from 8am until 8pm, seven-days-a-week.
Only people who receive a letter from the NHS can get a vaccine. If you would prefer to attend a hospital or GP service you can ignore the letter and wait to be invited there.
People who book in to a vaccine centre will receive a pre-vaccination assessment before they receive their vaccine. Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues.
KCHFT Chief Executive Paul Bentley said: “This is the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken and we are delighted to be playing such a vital part in this rollout to the wider public.
“We are well used to delivering thousands of vaccines a year through our school and community vaccination programmes. Our staff are doing an incredible job to deliver vaccinations at the same time as continuing to be there for anyone who needs our care.
“This really is partnership work at its finest. We are supported by colleagues from across the healthcare system and thanks to our volunteers, local councils and some of our emergency services’ colleagues; we can now roll out the vaccine to protect the communities we care for.”
Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) purchased the town centre site for £2million in May and has re-branded it Folca but the shop has remained empty ever since.
The council offered it to NHS England in December to be used for vaccinations.
Council Leader Cllr David Monk said: “We are delighted to be able to provide the use of our buildings and particularly this site to be part of such a momentous rollout. The plan has always been that we want it to benefit the town and the wider community. What better way for it to be used in the interim than as vaccination centre playing a pivotal role in making our community safer.”
Three vaccine sites already exist in the Folkestone district - at Lydd Airport on Romney Marsh, at the Civic Centre in Folkestone and at Oaklands Health Centre in Hythe.
In the last two days, more than 700 over-80s have been vaccinated at the airport and 4,800 doses have been given out at the Hythe hub since it opened in December.
The vaccine site at the Civic Centre - home to FHDC - will be open seven days a week, 11 hours a day, and is expected to perform more than 2,000 vaccinations per week.
People receiving their jab drive into the car park and the injection is administered through their window.
Dr Sarah Phillips, Medical Director for KCHFT and Faversham GP, said: “Kent and Medway has been hit hard by the highly transmissible new variant of COVID-19, so we’re delighted to be able to open our first public, large-scale vaccination centre.
“We will be starting with everyone aged 75 years and over, including the over 80s who haven’t yet received their vaccine, and letters will be sent to people living within a 45-minute drive of the site. If they cannot or do not want to travel to our vaccination centre, people can wait to be vaccinated by a local GP service.”
Damian Collins, MP for the district, said: "The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in our country’s history, has got off to a fantastic start at the Folkestone Civic Centre, Hythe Oaklands surgery and Lydd Airport thanks to the hard work of all of those involved.
"The news about the new mass-vaccination centre in Folkestone from next week will help us do even better.
"It’s great to see that so many people in Folkestone, Hawkinge, Cheriton, Lyminge and on the Marsh have received the vaccine as we lead the world in our fight back against coronavirus.
"I look forward to getting my vaccine over the coming months – and I urge everyone to do the same when they get the call up."