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FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF VACCINATION CENTRE AT THE PIRELLI STADIUM

16 December 2021

WHEN the first dose was administered at the Pirelli Stadium Covid-19 Vaccination Centre a year ago, it was the start of an incredible pandemic response from Burton Albion.

Now, 12 months on nearly 200,000 vaccinations have been given to grateful members of the community – with first, second and booster doses helping to save lives.

It has taken a phenomenal commitment from the football club and the community trust, working in tandem with NHS professionals and relying on the support of dozens of volunteers.

It’s something that everyone involved is justly proud of.

Head of Community Matt Hancock said: “It started with the club stepping up and wanting to be at the heart of the pandemic response. Burton Albion under Chairman Ben Robinson has always been at the heart of the community and at the time of greatest need was always going to be ready and waiting to make a big difference.

“The club has donated the facilities at the stadium and made it all possible working with the NHS to make sure we had a smooth, efficient and caring vaccination centre ready from day one.

“Since then, we have taken the massive step of freeing NHS staff to get back to their important work by BACT taking on the operation of the centre ourselves, which sets us apart from what other football clubs have done. None of that would have been possible without the dedication of our staff and volunteers and the wholehearted support of the football club.”

Ben Robinson said: “I can’t praise enough the dedication and commitment of all those working at the Vaccination Centre. It’s the biggest and most important task we have ever undertaken at Burton Albion, and it’s been an amazing success story.

“And we are now stepping that up even further with the threat of Omicron and the need to deliver booster jabs as quickly as possible.”

The Chairman visited the Vaccination Centre to thank the staff and volunteers and to make a presentation to Debbie Melling, the Vaccination Centre Site Lead for the NHS, for her birthday.

Roy Burton, the Vaccination Centre Coordinator, said: “We have come a long way since we gave the first dose on December 16 last year and we will have topped 200,000 by early in the new year.

“Next week we are running clinics from Monday to Thursday with five extra bays and we expect to deliver 3,000 doses a day.

“The Community Trust took over the running of the centre from April which was another big step for us.”

It’s not just at the Pirelli Stadium where vaccinations are being delivered.

Roy said: “BACT and the NHS, as a joint venture, have been to De Ferrers to give doses to school pupils and to Uttoxeter Racecourse five times and we have gone out to the homes of people who can’t come here.

“A friend of BACT Chairman John Jackson has had his leg amputated and couldn’t get here for his booster so we went out to him. That links into the wider pandemic response because the NHS and BACT can then keep in touch with people like that and make sure they are getting the support they need.”

January offers another big challenge with a planned Super Sunday on the 16th with 17 bays in operation and a target of 6,000 to 8,000 doses delivered with a mix of appointments and walk-ins.

Roy said: “The Chairman has given us the club again for that and it should be stressed that Burton Albion doesn’t receive a penny for this and donates all the facilities, electricity and lighting to allow this to happen. It’s Ben Robinson’s commitment to supporting the community through the football club that has enabled all this to happen.”


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