Published: 10:35, 07 January 2021
| Updated: 11:47, 07 January 2021
People in Sittingbourne will start receiving Covid-19 vaccinations from next week, it has been confirmed.
The Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has listed the town's Age UK as the site for the rollout programme and says it will begin the week of Monday, January 11.
Age UK's Heather House Day Centre, in Avenue of Remembrance, will provide vaccinations for: The Chestnuts Surgery, London Road Medical Centre, The Surgery Teynham, Memorial Medical Centre, Grovehurst Surgery, Iwade Health Centre, The Meads Medical Practice, Milton Regis Surgery and Lakeside Medical Centre.
He said: "For some time I have been working with the leader of Swale Borough Council, Cllr Roger Truelove, to get the Kent and Medway CCG to set up a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Sittingbourne.
"The CCG agreed, but refused to allow us to reveal any of the details. This has been immensely frustrating because we have been unable to provide proper answers to the many worried and angry people who have contacted us over the past couple of weeks.
"However, I have now received confirmation that we can announce that vaccinations are planned to start in Sittingbourne between January 11 and 15 at Age UK, Heather House Day Centre, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne ME10 4NN.
"The location and dates are subject to change, but fingers crossed plans go ahead as expected.
"The exercise will prioritise the elderly, starting with those over 80 years old and clinically vulnerable people.
"Patients will be contacted by their GP when the vaccine is ready to be administered to them and people should not contact their GP."
Swale Council leader Roger Trueloverevealed he told members of the the council about the plans on Wednesday and understands appointments are already being offered for next week.
He said: "This will be a great relief to local people, many of whom have been contacting me in recent weeks concerned about the lack of any service in our town
"The NHS concern, here and elsewhere, was that the fragile Pfizer vaccine would have to be dispensed at one central site, not around several GP surgeries.
"The council met with the NHS before Christmas and a suitable site was agreed and a prospective start date. As a local authority we have been anxious to inform the public, to allay their natural anxiety. We have been continually pressing for progress as has the local MP.
"However, the NHS have put an embargo on information until all aspects of the arrangements were fully confirmed.
"In due course, the Astra/Zeneca Oxford vaccine will come on stream and this can be administered at a number of sites, so we look forward to acceleration as the government seeks to reach its ambitious target. The management of this, including the commissioning of sites, will be in the hands of the NHS.”
Age UK said it was "delighted" to be supporting GPs in Sittingbourne with a venue to enable the Covid-19 vaccines to be delivered to the community.
A spokesman added: "The programme is due to start next week and will be delivered from our Heather House centre. Your surgery will contact you directly to invite you to attend for your vaccinations."
The Kent and Medway CCG said it it is pleased to have the site confirmed after its team had been "working hard on this for weeks".
News comes after GPs had been urged to start vaccinating people in Sittingbourne as residents were becoming concerned they were being left behind.