Sharley Park Leisure Centre in Clay Cross is one of two sites that are the first in the County to be converted from public spaces to carry out vaccinations as the County’s vaccination programme continues to accelerate.
So far, vaccinations in Derbyshire have been carried out in care homes or at NHS facilities such as hospitals and GP surgeries.
Staff at North East Derbyshire District Council have been supporting the community since the start of the pandemic by delivering food parcels to those in need and providing pharmacy deliveries to the clinically vulnerable.
The latest efforts from the authority have seen the sports hall in Sharley Park Leisure Centre transformed into a vaccination site and opens its doors to its first appointments on 8 January 2021.
Prior to the vaccination site opening in Clay Cross, over 25 of the leisure centre staff from North East Derbyshire District Council took part in a test vaccination trial setting at Bakewell, Derbyshire, which was the only known trial in the country, aimed at understanding the logistics of mass testing and how to safely allow a flow of people in the sites when up and running.
The team taking part received great thanks from the Derbyshire NHS Foundation Trust for their assistance with NHS efforts to provide safe vaccination sites.
North East Derbyshire District Council Leader, Councillor Alex Dale said, “I am incredibly proud of the way in which we have supported our residents and businesses in their times of need, from providing food parcels to the vulnerable or being a listening ear on the phone and providing over £20 million pounds of support through business grants. This latest feat to turn around our leisure centre, in such a short space of time, to be one of the first vaccination sites converted from a public building has been nothing short of miraculous.
“Using Sharley Park Leisure Centre as a vaccination site is a fantastic way to make sure the people of our district and County are able to access this vital vaccine.
“We have worked extremely hard with our NHS partners to get Sharley Park ready for patients, even taking part in a trial which was the only one in the country and I would like to thank all involved who have made this possible.
“It is a hugely positive step forward to reducing Covid cases in our district and the wider county. But while this is an incredibly exciting opportunity to end this pandemic, I must stress, while the roll out is happening, we must do all we can now to keep our distance, wash our hands, wear face coverings when out and protect our NHS and save lives.”
Councillor Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council and Chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “Ensuring the people of Derbyshire are vaccinated as soon as possible is one of the most important steps in helping us beat this awful virus. The opening of Sharley Park is a key milestone in this battle.
“Many of our care home residents and frontline staff have already been vaccinated and Sharley Park and other mass vaccination centres coming online across the county will help speed up the rollout of this vital programme.
“By working closely with our partners in health and the district and borough councils, many more residents will receive this lifesaving injection which will help us to recover, rebuild and get our great county back on track.”
Derby & Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is managing the rollout of the vaccine across the County and people should not contact their GP about a vaccination unless asked to do so, and should not attend any vaccination site without an appointment.