Spotlight

COVID-19 vaccination centre to open at Firepool, Taunton on Monday 11 October

Final preparations are being made for the opening of the COVID-19 vaccination centre at Firepool, Canal Road in Taunton. The new centre will welcome people to have their jabs on Monday 11 October and replaces the existing site at Taunton Racecourse.

The large vaccination centre will be open seven days a week from 08.30 am to 7.30 pm and will operate from a number of specially designed portacabins on the site, enabling up to 800 people a day to have their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Anyone aged 16 and over can choose to have their vaccination at the new Firepool site by booking an appointment through the National Booking Service online, or by calling 119.

Anyone aged 16 and over, who has not yet had their first and second primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, can walk in to a vaccination clinic. Details of which sites are offering walk-in clinics are available on the NHS website.

Those who are eligible for a booster jab should book their vaccination no earlier than six months after their second primary dose. Booster vaccine doses will be available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have had a 2nd dose of a vaccine at least 6 months ago.

This includes:

  • People aged 50 and over
  • People who live and work in care homes
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • People aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • People aged 16 and over who are a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19
  • People aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)

People who are pregnant and in 1 of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose.

The Somerset COVID-19 vaccination programme has delivered over 852,513* jabs since the launch of the programme in December 2020.  Over 15% of the total number of vaccinations have taken place at the Taunton Racecourse site, with over 170,000 jabs given.

The last jabs to be offered at the racecourse will take place on Sunday 10 October. People who have pre-booked an appointment should attend as planned and walk-ins will continue to be available for people aged 16 and over until 4.00pm.

David Griffin, Taunton Racecourse Chairman said “It has been a great privilege to host a Vaccination Centre here at Taunton Racecourse over the last 10 months. We are all very proud of playing our part in delivering vaccinations for people in the region during this time. But we now move forward and our racing calendar starts again on Wednesday 27th October and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Taunton Racecourse over the coming months.”

The NHS, Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) and Somerset County Council colleagues have been working together since the beginning of September, to put arrangements in place to get the new site ready.

Caroline Upton, Head of Nursing & Quality for the Somerset COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Programme said; “We want to thank the team at Taunton Racecourse for their huge support in accommodating the vaccination programme and enabling us to deliver an incredible 170,000 vaccinations.  While we will be sad to leave the racecourse site, we are delighted to be opening a new site in Taunton that will also enable the racecourse to return to business as usual.

“The Firepool site is a fantastic new facility in the centre of Taunton, with great public transport links, ample parking and easy access on site. Our dedicated vaccination teams and wonderful volunteers will be ready to welcome the first people to the site on Monday.”

Cllr Marcus Kravis, Executive Member for Assets at SWT, said: “We are delighted to support the Somerset COVID vaccination programme by offering the use of our Firepool regeneration site for a vaccination centre. This is an ideal venue with plenty of space for parking if needed, excellent transport links, and a cycleway and footpath direct to the town centre.

“Making it available for this vital facility will not impact on our ongoing planning for the whole site which is progressing at pace, or delivery of the nearby Digital Innovation Centre in partnership with SCC. Part of the site has already been brought back into temporary use for enabling works to pave the way for the vital infrastructure and engineering works that will commence in Spring ’22.”