Salisbury’s large-scale vaccination site is preparing to allow staff to administer two different vaccines under the same roof - so people aged under 30 can still get their jab.

So far, staff and volunteers at City Hall have been rolling out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

But to ensure younger age groups can still attend the site when their cohorts are eligible, work is underway to enable vaccines from a different manufacturer to be rolled out at the same time.

Read more: City Hall appoinments to double as supply increases

A different vaccine

Fiona Hyett, Operational Director of the large-scale vaccine site, said: “We’re hoping to be able to open as a vaccination centre to also take Pfizer over the coming weeks.

“So we’re hoping that in the next couple of weeks we’ll be up and running.

“We’re just working through what that looks like and how we manage that.

“Because there are challenges and risks in managing two vaccines on one site so we need to be really clear that we’ve got the right safety measures and precautions in place to manage our flow.”

Salisbury Journal: Fiona Hyett, Director of the City Hall vaccine siteFiona Hyett, Director of the City Hall vaccine site

In order to do that, one pod will be focusing on rolling out the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab while the second one will deal exclusively with Pfizer/BioNTech. Fridges will be kept separate for safety reasons.

The decision to offer under 30s a vaccine other than AstraZeneca comes after a review by the UK drugs regulator, showing evidence linking the jab to rare blood clots.

'A natural synergy'

Rolling out two vaccines from one venue will allow younger patients as well as those waiting for their second jab to come forward at the same time.

“We will have people aged 40 and above still coming through, some for their first doses but also second doses, so there’s that natural side by side synergy of needing to run two vaccines side by side,” Mrs Hyett said.

Mrs Hyett warned getting a jab still matters, even as cases drop and restrictions ease.

She said: “It’s part of that jigsaw puzzle of things that need to happen in order to go back to some normality, whatever that looks like.”

'Doing our bit'

More than 40,000 vaccinations have taken place at City Hall since the site opened at the end of January.

In the past few weeks, staff have been administering a mixture of first and second doses.

As a result of more supply, capacity has also increased, going from 600 patients per day to 1,200.

Mrs Hyett said it was always the team’s ambition to vaccinate such a high number of people each day.

“I don’t think there’s anything more frustrating than having a building that can take that number of people and then not being able to run to that number,” she said.

“We want to be able to do as much as possible to ensure we’re doing our bit to vaccinate the nation.”

With thousands more people still waiting for the first jab, City Hall will continue to operate as a vaccine site until “at least the autumn”, Wiltshire Council has confirmed. 

Plans for it to reopen as an entertainment venue will be discussed after the local elections.

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