Covid vaccination centre to open in Ripon in 'next week or so,' NHS officials announce
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NHS officials have announced the centre will be opened "in the next week or so" at a location to be confirmed.
The announcement comes just days after Ripon councillors issued an "urgent" call for a centre to be set up in the city after warning over 80-year-olds were struggling to reach appointments at the nearest sites in Harrogate or York.
Councillor Andrew Williams, leader of Ripon City Council, said expecting elderly residents to travel long distances during the recent bad weather and on public transport was "wholly inappropriate".
He said: "It's welcome news that Ripon will get its own vaccination site - it will make a huge difference to those who have been forced to travel as far away as York.
"We hope arrangements for the centre can be made as soon as possible to avoid any more long and unnecessary journeys for our residents."
Councillor Williams also said the Hugh Ripley Hall would be a suitable location for the vaccine centre and that the city council would make it available for the NHS.
Amanda Bloor, accountable officer at NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, made the announcement at a briefing on Wednesday when she also said the NHS would continue to look at whether further sites were needed in the county.
She said: “I am pleased to say that subject to final checks and NHS England approval, we do now have plans in place to open a site in Ripon in the next week or so.
“We are continuing to review whether further may be needed, particularly given the availability of a more mobile vaccine in the AstraZeneca vaccine."
It comes as NHS officials have said all care home residents and staff in North Yorkshire could be vaccinated by the end of this week.
Mrs Bloor said the county was on course to reach all care homes with their first round of jabs by 24 January and that over 70s and those listed as clinically extremely vulnerable would be next in line.
She added: "We are making really good progress thanks to the significant effort made by everyone across the county who is delivering the vaccination programme.
"They are working incredibly hard to get this vaccine out as quickly and safely as possible to people."
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter