Lancaster University has agreed to host the city’s first vaccination centre as part of the national fight against the COVID-19 virus.
The University’s new Health Innovation Campus is providing a state-of-the art environment where Lancaster Medical Practice and Queen Square Medical Practice will roll out a major programme to vaccinate patients between December and May.
To begin with, 975 patients aged over 80 will this week receive their initial vaccination at the University – with second doses booked in for the new year, when the programme will widen to include other age and priority groups.
Lancaster University has been at the forefront of the battle against COVID throughout 2020. Its sports hall is being used as a major COVID-19 testing centre for the region and staff and student volunteers recently delivered a major pre-Christmas testing programme for all students travelling home for the festive period. In January, the University will relaunch its testing programme for returning students.
Vice Chancellor Andy Schofield said: “As a civic university and an anchor institution in the Lancashire and South Cumbria region, we are proud to be able to offer our campus up as a centre for delivering this vital vaccination programme.
“This could be one of the most important initiatives in our lifetime and will hopefully help bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and enable the region to begin to get back to some degree of normalcy.
“The Health Innovation Campus is the perfect site for delivering a vaccine which has come about as a result of some of the world’s foremost scientists coming together to develop a crucial solution to a specific global challenge.
“This agreement has come about due to the strong partnership between the university and Lancaster Medical Practice, a relationship which will further develop and grow by partnering on this vital project.
“Throughout the crisis, the University has attempted to do all it can to be a beacon for the region’s fight against COVID-19. Our students and staff have been involved in a large number of projects to support our local communities, as well as international efforts to find out more about the virus and its affects and I’m incredibly proud of the efforts of our whole team.”
Kirsty Hagan, local GP and Clinical Director of the Lancaster Primary Care Network (PCN) added: “We want to thank Lancaster University as we couldn’t have done this without them. Lancaster PCN consists of two GP surgeries, Lancaster Medical Practice and Queen Square Medical Practice and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have worked together closely.
“Logistically, this piece of work has been challenging but I’m happy to say that the delivery of the vaccine has gone really well and our patients who have received it have been very appreciative.
“Providing the vaccine to this generation of people right before Christmas gives them hope that soon they’ll be able to hug their loved ones.”
Some of the projects which Lancaster University has been involved with during the pandemic include:
- Graduated final year medical students early to begin working in the NHS during the first wave of the virus
- Launched Connecting Kids – a partnership of stakeholders aiming to ensure underprivileged school pupils were not left behind as schools closed due to the pandemic
- Academics working on various aspects of impact of COVID-19 on society – as well as vaccination and testing research
- Supplied venues for NHS testing and vaccination programmes
- A large-scale review of the Lancaster delivery and support models to ensure students continue to be able to attend university
A section of the Health Innovation Campus has been set aside for the programme following a rigorous review by the University’s leadership team. Teaching and research activities will be unaffected.
Those eligible for the first wave of vaccinations will be contacted directly by their GP practices with further details on signing up.
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