Busy first day for new Covid-19 vaccination centre at Westward Ho!
- Credit: Getty
A new daily vaccination centre has opened at Westward Ho! Baptist Church, run by Arnolds Pharmacy.
It is the very first pharmacy-led NHS Covid-19 vaccination hub in Devon and Cornwall and opened on Saturday, January 23, with the capacity to vaccinate 3,500 people a week.
We incorrectly reported online last week that the centre at the church was opening for a ‘one off’ session, which had been based on what information was available at the time.
The facility will be running seven days a week, with the initial appointments held in the afternoon and into early evening, but this is expected to increase as time goes on.
But people have been urged not to attempt to contact the pharmacy, or go to the centre – they will be notified by letter when it is their turn, with the opportunity to book their appointment online or by telephone on the NHS booking service.
Mayor of Northam David Chalmers welcomed the news and said: “My thanks go to everyone who has worked so hard to get this up and running and to Torridge District Council for waiving car park charges.
“I understand people’s concerns that the vaccine roll out has been slow in our part of the country, but we are not far behind and those in the most vulnerable category should already be receiving their appointments by post. This is the light at the end of the tunnel. The end is in sight for Covid-19.”
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Osman Hamid, superintendent pharmacist for Arnolds Pharmacy, said: “I’ve never witnessed such an incredible community effort. Everyone is pulling in the same direction and people have been going above and beyond to support us.
“Westward Ho! Baptist Church has given us their hall for as long as we require and have from the beginning been very proactive, my lead contact, Reverend Tim Sutton, has been a real support.
“Councillor Nick Laws has helped facilitate many of the crucial logistical aspects such as signage and parking.
“Rob Braddick, owner of the Pier House, has given us all our chairs to use at our site, Jacquie Willoughby, president of Bideford Rotary Club, is co-ordinating our stewards. Torridge District Council have offered free parking, manager Paul from Westward Ho! Co-Op has supplied our staff with tea, coffee and biscuits for the staff room."