Safe storage facilities and the secure disposal of medical equipment were key requirements in the planning of Lincolnshire’s second mass COVID vaccination site, based at the county’s Showground.
It has been announced that the venue’s newly-modernised EXO Centre – already a Primary Care-led smaller vaccination centre – is to expand into one of the NHS’ mass sites being opened across the country.
Designed to help the UK meet its target of offering doses to the top four priority groups by mid-February, letters are being sent to eligible people who live 30 to 45-minutes’ drive from the sites explaining how they can book a slot. Lincolnshire’s other mass vaccination site is located at Boston’s Princess Royal Sports Arena.
A drive-through testing facility has been operational within the grounds of the Showground since last spring, originally opening for key workers before being made available to the public. This is separate to the new centre to ensure protection of those who attend for vaccinations.
The Commercial Property team at the Lincoln office of Wilkin Chapman played an integral role in the opening of both the smaller and larger Showground vaccination centres working with the NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, (CCG) and Showground officials. The CCG has leased the building, along with storage facilities and car parking, until August.
Commercial Property partner Andrew Harbourne and solicitor Gillian Smith led on ensuring the lease was agreed – with particular attention paid to the correct storage facilities, and safe disposal of medical equipment.
Speed was of the essence to ensure the facility could be made safely available as soon as possible, explained Gillian.
“Obviously, Wilkin Chapman was extremely keen to ensure that everything possible was done to ‘fast-track’ the legalities but at the same time ensuring the lease catered for both the Lincolnshire Showground’s and the NHS’ specific requirements,” said Gillian.
“It was vitally important that we pushed forward on this and of course it was in everyone’s interests that we all pulled together to help ensure the facilities become operational as soon as practically possible,” she added.
Jane Hiles, Chairman of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society thanked all those involved in the arrangements: “I am delighted that we now have one of the UK’s mass Vaccination Centres at the Lincolnshire Showground. Achieving this over Christmas added to the pressure as we needed the cooperation of our contractors John Martin-Hoyes Ltd and solicitors Wilkin Chapman to be ready, but we got there,” she said.
Jayne Southall, CEO of Lincolnshire Showground added: “Lincolnshire Showground is delighted to be supporting this important initiative to get the public vaccinated against Covid19, we will be doing all we can to support the agencies involved during this process.
“The NHS vaccination centre uses a small part of the Showground and only one of our buildings; we hope the vaccination campaign will help to bring the events industry back up and running when restrictions are lifted and look forward to welcoming visitors back to our events when safe to do so.”
NHS Lincolnshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group reminds people that they will be contacted by their GPs when it is their turn to be vaccinated. It is stressed that people must wait until they are contacted about a vaccination at a designated venue.