An urgent call has been made for Ripon to have its own covid vaccination centre to serve the city and surrounding areas.
Ripon City Council heard last night it was “unacceptable” for older people to have to travel to Harrogate or York, particularly as the government has pledged nobody should have to travel further than 10 miles for inoculations.
Councillors at last night’s virtual full council meeting said Ripon should not miss out and suggested Hugh Ripley Hall could become a vaccination centre.
They unanimously supported a motion by council leader Andrew Williams, who said:
“We currently have a situation in which elderly people are having to travel to the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate or the centre in York as the nearest places where they can be vaccinated.
“This is clearly unacceptable.
“The government told us that people would not have to travel more than 10 miles to receive their vaccine, so we need to take urgent action to ensure our citizens and the thousands more who live in areas to the north of Ripon do not have to make a long journey — which in itself adds to the risk of spreading the virus.”
At a Downing Street press briefing on January 7, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people in the UK would not have to travel more than 10 miles to receive a vaccination.
Ripon is 12 miles from Harrogate and 26 miles from York.
During the same briefing, the PM unveiled plans for another 1,200 vaccination hubs to open across the country.
It was agreed the council will contact Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, offering Hugh Ripley Hall on Skellbank as a possible location for a dedicated Ripon vaccination centre.
Councillor Pauline McHardy, who worked as an NHS nurse for 41 years, told the meeting:
“The hall is a good location, everybody knows where it is and there is sufficient space for social distancing.”
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Councillor Stuart Martin, whose wife April was seriously ill and hospitalised with coronavirus last year, said:
“I’m not an expert on what the NHS requires to set up a vaccination centre, but I fully support offering Hugh Ripley Hall in the first instance.
“If the hall doesn’t meet their requirements, they should look at other options in Ripon, such as putting a temporary building on a car park.”
Councillor Stephen Craggs, whose business is located close to the coach park where the NHS has been carrying out Covid tests on Wednesdays, said:
“We need to ensure that Ripon is not overlooked again, when it comes to providing a place where people living in this area can receive their vaccination.”