Vaccination sites have opened across Croydon with medical staff working flat out throughout the weekend to ensure that the majority of elderly residents in the borough’s 127 care homes  get the Covid-19 vaccination.

The most vulnerable are also receiving jabs at six satellite vaccination centres with the latest two opening at St Paul’s Church in Thornton Heath and Fairfield Halls.

The site at the Parkway Health Centre in New Addington which opened last Sunday had administered 1100 vaccinations in the first three days of operation.

Staff said they were excited to be part of national programme and saw it as a privilege. 

A practice nurse at the Thornton Heath site said it was going ‘really, really well’.

“We have had lots of happy customers and we are getting quicker and quicker as we go,” she added. 

Dr Angelo Fernandes, Clinical Chair of NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) and senior partner at the Parchmore Medical Centre said they were “on track for a successful vaccination programme.”

Dr Desh Virdi of the Upper Norwood Practice speaking on the first day of vaccinations at St Paul’s on Thursday said: “It’s been really successful. Patients are really enthusiastic despite  the weather  and hopefully this is beginning of the end of lockdown and getting back to some normality of life.”

GP Anna Clarke, from the Auckland Road practice  spoke about how she had  been out at care home that afternoon and vaccinated 40 patients and staff.

The first priority group is everyone aged 80 plus and all health and social care workers. This will be followed by over 75s, then over 70s and all those considered clinically extremely vulnerable and those who have been shielding.

The NHS will contact you and invite you to book an appointment when it’s your turn. You may receive a phone call from your GP practice or local NHS service or be contacted by email, text message or by letter.

Teresa Chapman, Managing Partner at The Parchmore Group, Director Croydon GP Collaborative and Business Lead at One Thornton Heath Primary Care Network, speaking at the Thornton Heath site said 11 practices were working together and that it was a real ‘team effort’  which she was extremely ‘proud’ of.

Practice staff from all the practices were involved in the drive along with coordinated volunteers.

She said: “We are going to fight this virus and protect the vulnerable patients in our community.

“It’s been fantastic working together with all these practices. Patients have been immensely grateful and we are going to beat this virus.”

Church administrator Gill Borthwick said: “St Paul’s Church and Community Hall are delighted to be working with the NHS and to have been chosen as a Vaccination Centre.

“I have seen at first hand the long hours that the Managing Partner, Teresa Chapman, and others have put in to make this happen, so it was a real joy on Wednesday to see the first vaccine delivered and on Thursday to see so many coming for their first jab, particularly in the pouring rain.

“The professionalism of all those working from the building, from the doctors to the volunteers, has been inspiring.  People were greeted with care and compassion and to see the smiles on the those being vaccinated will remain with me.

“Knowing people who work in the NHS I know what an enormous strain it is under but through the amazing work of our scientists we have a way to beat this virus and I would encourage everyone to take up their invitation when they receive it.
“St Paul’s feels privileged to play a small part in this massive undertaking, but we also remember those who are suffering from the illness now or have lost loved ones through this disease and want to assure everyone in our community that you are in are thoughts and prayers.”