The cathedral will be used by Lichfield Primary Care Network (PCN) which includes the Westgate Practice and Langton Medical Group. Patients will be contacted directly by their GP practice and offered appointments. All of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s PCNs will be vaccinating this week.
Deirdre Smouna, Practice Manager at the Langton Medical Group said: “The Dean of the cathedral offered us its use as an immunisation site. And the more we looked into it the more we realised how ideal it is. To begin with, it’s certainly not hard to find.
“But apart from being so symbolic of the area, it has a large amount of parking nearby, the main entrance is flat, and the nave is long enough to provide socially distanced queueing so that patients don't have to wait outside. There is also lots of space to allow a number of immunisation stations to operate safely and for patients to wait for the required 15 minutes after their injection.
“The other bonus is they have a wonderful team of volunteers who are offering to help as marshalls.”
Rosie Jones, Nurse Partner at Lichfield's Langton Medical Group, talks about why Lichfield Cathedral is ideal for COVID vaccinations
The three-spired 12th century cathedral joins the list of other notable non-medical buildings to be used to fight the virus. They include Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium, one of JCB’s yellow digger factories and Stafford’s County Showground, along with various other church sites.
The Very Rev Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield, said: “The roll out of these new vaccines to immunise us against COVID-19 was the best news of 2020! We want to offer this Cathedral nave as a big space that can safely and securely house local vaccination programmes and enable speedy delivery to those most at risk.”
Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead for the COVID vaccination programme said: “Getting 100 per cent coverage in such a short time is a great achievement by everyone involved and it is amazing to think that we will now be vaccinating in such a historic location. We have already vaccinated many of our patients aged over 80 and our care home residents who we know are the most vulnerable.
“Please don’t call your GP asking when you or your family members will get protected. We know everyone is eager but we will get around to everyone who is eligible, starting with the most at-risk.”
Other PCNs that will also soon start vaccinating are South Stoke Central, Newcastle Central, Cannock North and Mercian (Tamworth).