Manchester Tennis Centre opens as mass vaccination centre
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Manchester Tennis Centre has become the first of a number of tennis venues that will play a vital role in the nation’s route out of the coronavirus pandemic as it opened this week as one of the first seven new mass vaccination centres in the country.
In normal times the venue is one of a network of Community Indoor Tennis Centres across the country supported by the LTA to operate as a community hub to help keep people from the local area fit and healthy through tennis, year round.
The centre, which forms part of the Etihad Campus in the city, has undergone a major transformation that will see three of its indoor courts now operate as a mass vaccination site for up to the next 12 months. The first seven venues were chosen by NHS England to give a geographical spread across the country, with one vaccination centre opening in each of the seven NHS regions as part of an historic vaccination programme described as the biggest in NHS history.
The centre will be run by the NHS in Greater Manchester on a strict appointment only basis, with the NHS contacting directly those who are eligible to book their appointments over the coming days.
Jacqui Burrow, Director of Nursing at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group and Programme Director for the Greater Manchester Vaccination Centre, said: “Staff have been working around the clock to mobilise this service. They have come together from a wide range of organisations and disciplines including immunisation and vaccination services, nursing, estates, pharmacy, organisational development, IT and staff training. We are very proud of what has been achieved in setting up the first vaccination centre in Greater Manchester. This is a significant and positive step forward for us in the fight against Covid-19.
“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods in Greater Manchester and the opening of this vaccination centre represents a vital next step in the region’s recovery from the pandemic and will enable us to deliver the vaccine at pace, protecting our local communities.”
The new centres will each be capable of delivering thousands of vaccinations each week, and will be followed by more large-scale sites. While Manchester is one of the first seven mass vaccination centres opened by the NHS, a number of other indoor tennis venues across the country are also in the process of being transformed into vaccination centres as part of the programme.
'A real community asset'
Scott Reid, Community Indoor Tennis Centre Manager at the LTA said: “We are proud of Manchester and all of the other venues in the LTA’s network of indoor tennis centres that have been chosen to play such a prominent role in the vaccination programme. Like many others around the country, the centre in Manchester is used to playing a vital role in the supporting the physical and mental health of their community by getting people of all ages active through tennis, so to be able to continue to play a role in this way is a fantastic extension of that contribution of the venue as a real community asset.”
“The pandemic has had a significant impact on indoor tennis centres and put many at risk – it is vital that indoor venues around the country like Manchester are protected so that they can continue to deliver benefit to their communities in the future.”
As a tennis venue, Manchester Tennis Centre is operated by GLL and owned by Manchester City Council. Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester City Council's executive member for adult health and well-being, added: "Success in the battle against Covid cannot be achieved by working alone and we are very lucky to have such strong partnerships in the city that can pull together in times of crisis.
"I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your appointment and get your vaccination when you are contacted. Ensuring as many people as possible get the vaccination in a timely manner is our best route out of the grip of the virus and back to normality. We all have a part to play in keeping the virus under control and to keep ourselves and loved ones safe."