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Plans to close Nottinghamshire Covid vaccination centre just 26 days after it opened

A council leader has expressed his frustration over plans to close a booster vaccination centre in Carlton just weeks after it was opened to deliver jabs.

Cllr John Clarke (Lab), leader of Gedling Borough Council, says he is concerned the closure is a mistake while case numbers of the Omicron variant remain “rampant” in Notts.

A vaccine centre initially opened at the Richard Herrod Centre in Foxhill Road during the pandemic but was closed by the NHS on 25 October.

However, after the rising numbers of Omicron cases, a service was opened at the centre again on December 20 to deliver boosters.

But it is due to close again on 14 January – meaning it will have been open for only four weeks.

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Figures show in the seven days to January 4, there were 2,655 new cases of coronavirus in Gedling, with a rate of infection of 2245.5 per 100,000 people. This is above England’s current rate, which stands at 1924.4

And in some parts of Gedling borough, up to January 8, just over half of people have had their booster jabs – Arnold (55.3 per cent), Carlton (56.3 per cent), Netherfield and Colwick (54 per cent).

Cllr Clarke said it was “frustrating” the NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had decided to close the vaccine service at the centre again.

“We did not want them to close it in the first place,” he said. “We were not expecting this. The centre was not only serving Gedling but also Rushcliffe and the city.

“If we can work with someone else to keep it open, we will. I am not a health professional, but Covid is still rampant in the community.

“You can’t keep using a public building – opening it one minute and then closing it the next. It is like the Chuckle Brothers – a ‘to me to you’ job. Richard Herrod Centre is ideally suited for vaccines.

“We will continue to negotiate with other people such as a pharmacy to carry the vaccine programme on there.”

The CCG said it keeps sites under “constant review” in response to “footfall, uptake levels and convenience to the public”.

A spokeswoman said: “It is important that our vaccination staff are utilised in the most efficient way to deliver as many vaccinations as possible.

“In Gedling, 68.5 per cent of over-18s have now received the booster vaccination and we would encourage anyone who has not yet received their jab to walk into the pop-up Richard Herrod vaccination site.”

Speaking at a Public Health briefing on Friday, January 7, Louise Lester, from Public Health Nottinghamshire, said: “In the most recent seven days our [Nottinghamshire-wide] rate was at 1,865 per 100,000.

“That is 15,000 people across Nottinghamshire who have tested positive in the last seven days.

“They are high across all our districts and boroughs at the moment – highest in Gedling and Ashfield and lowest in Rushcliffe.

“All very high and driven by the working age population – 18 to 59-year-olds have got the highest rates and we do not know what this New Year will bring.”

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