'Wonderful day' as Norfolk's second mass vaccination centre opens

Colin Morrison was given his first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. Picture

Colin Morrison was given his first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt

Hundreds of people have taken a step closer to normality after being administered life-saving jabs at a newly-opened vaccination centre.

A steady flow of patients arrived at King's Lynn Corn Exchange throughout Monday, with the venue having opened as a mass inoculation site.

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. - Credit: Ian Burt

It has become Norfolk's second large-scale centre, following in the footsteps of the food court at Castle Quarter, Norwich, which opened in January.

Two further sites are set to open in Attleborough and North Walsham this Wednesday and Saturday respectively, while another will be unveiled in Wisbech on Friday. 

Over-70s and those deemed extremely clinically vulnerable began arriving at the Corn Exchange on Monday morning, before being welcomed by staff and directed to an efficient queuing system. 

NHS workers leading the roll-out were flanked by Army and RAF personnel, who conducted health checks, administered jabs and marshalled proceedings. 

Sandra Laycock from the NHS Immunisation Team prepares a Covid-19 vaccination. Picture: Ian Burt

Sandra Laycock from the NHS Immunisation Team prepares a Covid-19 vaccination. - Credit: Ian Burt

Among those invited to King's Lynn was Rachel Pooley, who lives in Dereham.

Mrs Pooley received a letter on Saturday morning and admitted it was the first time in her life she had booked an appointment online. 

Rachel Pooley is prepared for her Covid-19 vaccination. Picture: Ian Burt

Rachel Pooley is prepared for her Covid-19 vaccination. - Credit: Ian Burt

Having finally received her first dose of the vaccine, the 73-year-old said it had been a "wonderful day". 

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"Everything today has been really good," added Mrs Pooley. "Even the parking was easy and everybody has been so pleasant. 

Rachel Pooley after receiving her first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. Pi

Rachel Pooley after receiving her first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt

"I felt the jab go in, but you'll put up with anything to prevent getting Covid. 

"I've been waiting for it because my mum is in a care home and is almost 106.

Rachel Pooley gets her first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian

Rachel Pooley gets her first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt

"Everybody's jumping up and down with excitement now to be able to have the jab, and we're looking forward to the country being in a better place."

Also pleased to receive their vaccines at the Corn Exchange were Derek and Joan Downs, who were given a list of potential venues and selected King's Lynn.

A NHS staff member prepares Derek Downs for his first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in K

A NHS staff member prepares Derek Downs for his first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt

The couple used to work in the London Ambulance Service and were delighted with the day's proceedings. 

"We're very impressed with this today," said Mr Downs, 73. "We were met by people who knew exactly what they were doing and it's super to see it all run so smoothly.

Derek Downs was given his first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. Picture: I

Derek Downs was given his first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt

"Coming here gives you confidence. I think only this country could organise it so well, and now we’ve seen it first-hand.

"Neither of us are young and the danger is, if you catch it, there is a real risk. Having been in the ambulance service we've been hearing all about friends and colleagues dying - it's so sad."

Joan Downs was given her first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. Picture: Ia

Joan Downs was given her first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt

Mrs Downs, 74, added: "We have not been going out at all - just once a month to the chemist to get medication.

"The worst thing has been not seeing our brand new baby granddaughter - that's been really hard."

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. - Credit: Ian Burt

Colin Morrison, from Downham Market, was also full of praise for the experience. 

“Everything’s gone very smoothly, the people were nice and it has all run to time,” said the 74-year-old, who works as a cable joiner for UK Power Networks.  

Colin Morrison waits for his Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: Ian Burt

Colin Morrison waits for his Covid-19 vaccine. - Credit: Ian Burt

“I haven’t really been effected in terms of work, apart from the first 10 weeks of lockdown so it hasn’t been bad in that sense. 

“Everything else I have missed – going to the pub being top of the list. You just cannot do anything. I just go out and get a bit of exercise and that’s it.” 

Colin Morrison was given his first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. Picture

Colin Morrison was given his first Covid-19 vaccination at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt

Overseeing the opening day were staff from Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which has been responsible for the running of large-scale sites.

David Vickers, medical director at the trust, said feedback on the Corn Exchange had been overwhelmingly positive.

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. - Credit: Ian Burt

“Members of the public have been really pleased,” he said. “They are grateful to have the vaccine and know how important it is in our ongoing fight against coronavirus.  

"People are beginning to recognise this is the one thing that will allow us to get back to normal.

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. - Credit: The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

"Every day we'll be vaccinating hundreds of people, but on opening day it has been slightly reduced just so we can iron out any teething problems."

Dr Vickers also issued advice regarding appointments, highlighting the importance of waiting for an official NHS invite.

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. - Credit: Ian Burt

"What I would say is, if you haven't got an appointment, please do not come," he added.

"We're urging people not to arrive early, but if you are late don't worry - we are not going to turn you away."

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. - Credit: Ian Burt

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. - Credit: Ian Burt

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. - Credit: Ian Burt

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. - Credit: Ian Burt

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. Picture: Ian Bu

The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn is now being used as a Covid-19 Vaccination Centre. - Credit: Ian Burt


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