Posted: Thu 10th Jun 2021

Deeside mass vaccination centre likely to be retained for winter booster programme

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 10th, 2021

The mass vaccination centre housed inside Deeside Leisure Centre could remain in place through the winter to support a Covid-19 booster programme.

The move to keep the vaccination centre in place would disrupt plans to return Deeside Leisure Centre back to its pre-pandemic state and the reopening of the ice rink.

The four ward, 250 bed Deeside Rainbow Hospital, built within the leisure centre at the start of the pandemic, was stood down in March as demand for hospital beds in the region reduced following a second wave of Covid 19 infections.

One of the wards, housed within the ice rink building, has been used to administer over 85,000 Covid jabs since the start of the vaccination programme in Wales.

Aura Leisure, which runs the leisure centre for Flintshire Council had said the site would be handed back to them on July 31st.

But while the rest of the Rainbow Hospital is in the process of being decommissioned in preparation for it being handed back, the “vaccination area” will be retained according to Flintshire Council chief executive Colin Everett.

The national effort to immunise the UK population against COVID-19 has been a huge success with Wales leading the way.

It is expected that Wales will reach 75% take-up for first jabs across all priority groups and age groups a month ahead of target – the original milestone was the end of July – as the nation’s vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength.

But fears over the Delta variant of the virus has seen the focus now move to maximise vaccine coverage for all by ensuring everyone is offered a second dose by the end of September.

With the desire to end lockdown restrictions and reopen the country, a third vaccine dose is being considered for the most vulnerable and high-risk groups to make sure good immune protection is maintained

In a reply to a question on social media about the future of the vaccination centre and if it will close at the end of July as first mooted, Mr Everett said:

“The Rainbow Hospital is being decommissioned for return to use as a leisure centre, and we are reviewing plans to retain the vaccination centre area for a winter booster programme at the request of the Health Board”

Gill Harris, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “We are reviewing the requirements for the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programme.”

“We remain extremely grateful to Flintshire County Council for their continued support in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination programme.”

In March, Aura Leisure said the site will begin a phased reopening during late summer.

Aura said the leisure centre will return with a “new look gym, a redesigned skate park and the ice rink will reopen.”

“We are hopeful of returning during late summer with a phased re-opening of our sports and community facilities likely to follow.” A spokesperson said at the time.

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