A new COVID-19 vaccination centre is set to open this week in a church in Croydon.
They plan to have six people being vaccinated at any one time in the church hall.
The church has been closed for the past 10 months except for opening occasionally as a site for blood donations.
Bookings for the site will still need to be made through the NHS National Booking System after receiving a letter from the NHS and the centre will be running from 8am to 8pm, seven days-a-week.
Father Peter Mansfield of St Aidan’s Catholic Church said: “When the COVID vaccinations began in December, I was struck by the fact that our very elderly people had to go to a centre in Old Coulsdon or Epsom.
“If they did not have a car and driver in their household they would have to accept a lift from someone outside of their household or take a taxi, both of which they were advised not to be doing, taking the bus was even less safe.
“It was therefore very fortuitous when our local Valley Pharmacy contacted me in mid-January asking if we could make the hall available as a vaccination centre, it seemed the perfect match to me.
“A hall which could not be used for church gatherings since last March and a need in the community which could not be more urgent.
“I asked the pharmacist to meet me at the hall that afternoon and within an hour of the request, we both knew we had the perfect solution to a vaccination centre in Coulsdon.
“The parish community of St Aidan’s are committed to staying in support of this initiative for as long as it takes.”
Data from NHS England shows that in the South West London Health and Care Partnership, which covers Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth, 71.4% of the 80+ population have received a first dose of the vaccine as of 24 January, the latest data currently available.
In addition 14.6% of over 80s have received the second dose, bringing the total number of vaccines administered for people of all ages in the area to 138,870.
This means that south west London leads the way in London in first doses to over 80s as a percentage of the population, with North London Partners in Health and Care behind on 66.6% followed by North West London Health and Care Partnership, East London Health and Care Partnership, and then Our Healthier South East London on 60.4%.
London’s total vaccines administered, 681,709, lags behind other regions, as does the percentage of the population who have received a jab.
It is hoped this new centre, among others opening, will allow London to increase its vaccine rollout.
The sum of the regions in the data does not equal the England total, this is due to a small number of individuals vaccinated in England with a registered address in Scotland or Wales or where their address is unknown.
Valley Pharmacy is looking for volunteers who will be provided with full PPE and training, if you are interested contact [email protected].