Derby is to become one of the first places in the UK to administer the coronavirus vaccine once its is approved and the national programme is rolled out.
A temporary Covid-19 vaccination centre will be set up in the city and currently Derby Arena is being considered as the venue.
It was announced nationally last week that initial results indicated that the first effective coronavirus vaccine had been found.
The vaccine, which has been developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, has been tested on 43,500 people and is currently awaiting national approval.
The UK is set to receive ten million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year with a further 30 million on order.
Councillor Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council said: “The potential roll-out of a COVID vaccine is a welcome step in the nationwide effort against the spread of COVID-19 – it’s an honour for Derby to have the opportunity to play such a critical part in any vaccination programme.
“Derby Arena is a world class venue in its own right, and we’re delighted that it’s being considered as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.
“It is a perfect venue. It has plenty of space, parking, and good transport networks to serve Derby, Derbyshire and beyond.
“We’re still in discussions about practicalities but are very keen to be able to facilitate this.”
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Dr Steve Lloyd GP is medical director of NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group and lead for the COVID-19 vaccination planning team, which comprises of members of both the local health and social care system.
He said: “The NHS locally is working with local authorities across the city and county to prepare for the delivery of the vaccine, once available.
“Work includes the preparation of sites so that all residents who are considered as requiring a vaccination can access one.
“Making preparations for the residents of care homes, the housebound and also NHS and social care staff to be vaccinated is vitally important too. We are working very closely with local GPs and are very grateful to all public sector partners for their support.
“The COVID-19 vaccination programme is the most important development we have seen during the pandemic and we must be prepared to deliver vaccinations to our communities.”
During the pandemic, citizens have been encouraged to ‘Do the right thing for Derby’ by ensuring all actions are careful, safe and within social distancing and hygiene guidelines.
Dr Robyn Dewis, Derby director of public health, has said that this is more important now than ever, as the battle against rising cases in the city continues.
She said: “While news of a vaccine was positive, we mustn’t be complacent and forget safety measures.
“Vaccines are one of the most effective way to prevent infections like coronavirus, but we need to remember that it can’t be rolled out immediately, it will take time.
“This news is obviously is incredibly welcome, though vaccination centres are part of a wider effort to tackle the spread of COVID in our city and cannot work in isolation from other measures of protection.
“We cannot lose sight of the need to keep ourselves and others as safe as possible through our own actions, too.
“The importance of basic hygiene and safety measures remains imperative – we should all continue to wash our hands regularly, wear a face covering where we can, and keep a two metre distance from others.”
Discussions about using Derby Arena as a vaccine centre are taking into consideration the delayed local elections scheduled in May.
At a Government press conference on Monday, the deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam called the vaccine “a scientific breakthrough”.
He said that although we do not yet know when a vaccine will be approved and available “it is important that we do all we can to prepare”.