Derby Arena is being considered as a temporary COVID-19 vaccination centre.
It was announced last week that initial results indicated that the first effective coronavirus vaccine has been found. The vaccine, which has been developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, has been tested on 43,500 people and is currently awaiting national approval.
At a Government press conference, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van-Tam called the vaccine a scientific breakthrough.
The centre forms part of Derby City Council and partners’ work to tackle COVID-19 transmission in Derby, as there continue to be high levels of cases in the city.
Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council said: “Derby Arena is a world class venue in its own right, and we’re delighted that it’s being considered as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.
“The potential roll-out of a COVID vaccine is a welcome step in the nationwide effort against the spread of COVID-19 – it’s an honour for Derby to have the opportunity to play such a critical part in any vaccination programme.
“The Arena is a perfect venue; it has plenty of space, parking, and good transport networks to serve Derby, Derbyshire and beyond.
“We’re still in discussions about practicalities but are very keen to be able to facilitate this.”
The UK is set to receive ten million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year with a further 30 million on order.
Dr Robyn Dewis, Director of Public Health at Derby City Council, has said that this is more important now than ever, as we battle rising cases in the city, and while news of a vaccine was positive, we mustn’t be complacent and forget safety measures: “Vaccines are one of the most effective way to prevent infections like coronavirus, but we need to remember that it can’t be rolled out immediately, it will take time, and in the meantime the importance of basic hygiene and safety measures remains imperative – we should all continue to wash our hands regularly, wear a face covering where we can, and keep a two metre distance from others.
“This news is obviously is incredibly welcome, though vaccination centres are part of a wider effort to tackle the spread of COVID in our city and cannot work in isolation from other measures of protection. We cannot lose sight of the need to keep ourselves and others as safe as possible through our own actions, too.”
Discussions about using the Arena as a vaccine centre are taking into consideration the elections in May.
Dr Steve Lloyd, GP, Medical Director of NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group and lead for the COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Team, which comprises of colleagues from the local health and social care system said: “The NHS locally is working with local authorities across the city and county to prepare for the delivery of the vaccine, once available.
“Work includes the preparation of sites so that all residents who are considered as requiring a vaccination can access one. Making preparations for the residents of care homes, the housebound and also NHS and social care staff to be vaccinated is a vitally important. We are working very closely with local GPs and are very grateful to all public sector partners for their support.
“The COVID-19 vaccination programme is the most important development we have seen during the pandemic and we must be prepared to deliver vaccinations to our communities.”