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Folkestone Vaccination Update 12 Feb 2021

February 12, 2021 6:47 PM

Covid Vaccination Feedback PosterAlong with all Folkestone and Sandgate residents, I've been delighted to see the fast progress being made on vaccinations locally.

An update from Dr Tuan Nguyen, from HNS Kent & Medway CCG, says that:

"...as of 1pm today [12 Feburary], we have vaccinated 16,872 residents of Folkestone, Dover & Deal across both sites at Dover Health Centre and Folkestone Civic Centre. This figure also includes care home residents and staff.

"The Civic Centre site has vaccinated 8,177 residents since it was opened on the 19th of January. This is an incredible achievement from the whole team (management, administrators, vaccinators and volunteers) and demonstrates exceptional community spirit, as the vast number of vaccinations were done in adverse weather conditions (storm Christoph & Darcy), as we prioritised patient safety and comfort by running a drive thru facility."

I'd like to join in thanking everyone involved in that effort - staff & volunteers, NHS who provide the service, and the District Council for providing the Civic Centre Car Park to use. Absolutely the same applies for the mass vaccination site at Folca on Sandgate Road where staff and volunteers will have provided a similar number of vaccinations in total since it opened on Tueday 26th January - and the District Council team again helped in providing the building and getting it ready to use. The work they are doing, and the hope that those vaccinations are bringing is inspiring. There have been challenges - at both sites - since they opened, but as those challenges have come up they have risen to them: terrible weather and all.

It still remains fair to ask why it was 19th January before vaccinations started in Folkestone, and 20th January on Romney Marsh, when vaccinations started on 21st December in Hythe - almost a full month earlier. Now they are running, the Civic Centre and Folca Mass Vaccination Centre have moved quickly and we've really seen vaccination levels improve - but why did it start later in the first place?

I genuinely don't know the answer. There may be excellent reasons, but I've simply not heard them. That's why I've called, when the time is right, to make the roll-out of the vaccination programme in the district the subject of scrutiny by Folkestone & Hythe District Council. I want to hear from the NHS, CCG, Council, volunteer groups and all those involved in making it happen to learn what the blocks were on getting going.

As we've all heard, we may be needing vaccination centres a long time into the future to address new Covid variants. If there were issues in getting up and running in Folkestone & Romney Marsh, and lessons to be learned, lets make sure we learn them.