FIVE of Leicester’s six rapid testing sites are to be converted to vaccination centres as Leicester steps up its coronavirus vaccination programme.
Leicester is one of a number of areas around the country that will be speeding up its vaccination process, following a rise in cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India.
Leicester’s Director of Public Health Professor Ivan Browne said: “Cases of the variant first identified in India are still relatively low in Leicester compared to some of the hotspots we have seen across the country, but we want to step up the vaccination programme here to get on the front foot before they increase, as is likely to be the case.
“We have been asking for permission, and for the supplies, to boost our vaccination programme and I am very pleased that this has now been agreed.
“The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups are leading on the vaccination programme and we have agreed for them to use five of our six rapid testing sites, which they will convert to vaccination centres to come into use from next week.
“These are at Coleman Neighbourhood Centre, Eyres Monsell Community Centre, Fosse Neighbourhood Centre, Hamilton Library and the Tudor Centre. Rapid tests are no longer available from these locations. The Adult Education College will remain open as a rapid testing site.
“Surge testing is not required in Leicester as we have been carrying out targeted testing around variants for some time, but we will continue to offer tests through the existing PCR test sites in the city, and of course lateral flow tests are now readily available from local pharmacies, by ordering online and in some workplaces.
“Where necessary, we can also use our ground teams who have been knocking on doors in local neighbourhoods to offer tests and advice for many months”.
PCR tests will remain available from sites across the city, including at Victoria Park and Jubilee Square.
Caroline Trevithick, executive director of nursing, quality and performance for the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “In light of the Government announcement regarding surge planning in Leicester city, we are working closely with the local authority to repurpose the testing sites into vaccine sites to provide the vaccine to specific communities in Leicester city where we need to increase uptake. We are still finalising the specifics of the plan and will work with the local communities to ensure they understand how to access this service.”
Lateral flow tests – for people without symptoms - can ordered online at https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
PCR tests – for people with symptoms - can be booked by calling 119 or at nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test