Covid: Great Yorkshire Showground to reopen as vaccine centre for two weeks in December

Harrogate's Great Yorkshire Showground will reopen as a coronavirus vaccination centre for two weeks in December, it has been announced

The showground was used as a Covid vaccination site for most of the year before closing in August.

The venue - which was used as a vaccination site for most of the year before closing in August - will reopen at the beginning of December for an expected busy period of booster jabs, the NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said.

A CCG spokesperson said: "Plans are in place to run pop-up Covid vaccination clinics at the Yorkshire Showground at the beginning of December for two weeks, as this is when we are anticipating a peak in the number of patients eligible to receive their booster jabs.

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"In the meantime, patients over 50 and those in other priority groups who are now eligible for their booster dose, who would prefer not to wait until December, have a number of additional options they may wish to consider, including booking an appointment at an alternative vaccination centre via the NHS National Booking Service or 119.

"Patients can also use this service to book a first or second dose of the vaccine if they've not yet taken up the opportunity to be vaccinated."

The announcement comes after an NHS official last week told a press briefing that the showground would reopen as a vaccination centre, but did not say for how long.

More than half of all over-50s across the UK have now received a booster jab and the government is urging greater take up to ease pressure on the NHS ahead of a difficult winter due to Covid pressures and long backlogs.

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There is also a focus on getting more 12 to 15-year-olds vaccinated after the recent record levels of infections in Harrogate was linked to young people.

The high case rates led to health officials urging schools in the district to reintroduce face masks and postpone some activities to try keep infections under control.

Every headteacher was also contacted with the offer of extra support and advice.

Latest Public Health England figures show just over 16% of 12 to 15-year-olds in the Harrogate district have received their single vaccine dose.

An NHS North Yorkshire CCG spokesperson said: "We continue to encourage people to get vaccinated. The coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective.

"They offer the best protection against Covid-19."

Figures also show a total of 130,232 people in the Harrogate district have received their first vaccine dose and 121,915 people their second.

That equates to 83% and 77% of the population respectively.

No figures are available for booster jabs.

Meanwhile, the district's weekly infection rate has fallen to 612 cases per 100,000 people after reaching record levels of 733 last month.

This mirrors a trend of falling rates nationally, however, the government has said it is too early to draw any conclusion from the latest figures.