Snettisham Surgery is the latest West Norfolk site to start Covid vaccinations. Picture: Ian Burt

A fourth site has this week been added to the West Norfolk Covid vaccination programme.

Snettisham Surgery started vaccinating patients on Monday along with 11 other new sites in the Norfolk and Waveney area.

St James Medical Practice in King’s Lynn, St John’s Surgery in Terrington St John and King’s Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital are already up and running with the vaccine roll-out.

The area’s clinical commissioning  group (CCG) said it now has 21 local vaccinations sites in addition to the QEH and two hospitals in Norwich with more set to follow.

The additional sites also includes Manor Farm Medical Centre at Swaffham, covering the Swaffham and Downham Market primary care network.

As of last Thursday, the CCG said almost 40 per cent of people over the age of 80 had received their first Covid vaccination and almost 30,000 people had been vaccinated in the area.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, chairman of NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, which is co-ordinating the roll-out, said: “We’ve made a great start beginning to protect the most vulnerable people. 

“That’s testament to the immense effort made by doctors, nurses and administrators in general practice, staff in our hospitals and in the clinical commissioning group. But truly, this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

“More GP-led sites are about to open, and these will be followed by more large vaccination centres to drive up the numbers we can vaccinate every day into the many thousands, with a spread of sites reaching into every corner of Norfolk and Waveney.”

North West Norfolk MP James Wild welcomed the addition of the Snettisham Surgery and said in this week’s column in Your Local Paper: “Snettisham is covering practices including the Burnhams, Great Massingham, Grimston, Heacham and Hunstanton. 

“Then there will be large-scale centres as locations in our area – details will be made public nearer to when they open.” 

He also said this week the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was under considerable pressure and, as the vaccine roll-out continues, the best thing we can all do is stay at home.

The CCG said the NHS has worked with other agencies to set up and run vaccination sites and the NHS thanked everyone who has offered sites for the programme but said “no further sites are currently needed”.

A number of West Norfolk businesses, mainly pubs and restaurants closed due to lockdown, had offered their facilities for the programme.

The CCG also said the Oxford vaccine which can be stored at normal fridge temperature will make delivering the vaccine easier. 

“Our hospitals in Norfolk and Waveney are under immense pressure with more COVID-19 positive patients in beds that at any point since the outbreak of the disease last year. 

“Until the vaccine has reached most of the vulnerable groups our best protection for ourselves, family, community and the NHS, is to wear a face covering, keep our distance and regularly wash our hands,” a spokesman said.

Patients have been asked not to ask their GP practice or hospital when they will receive the vaccine as they will be contacted with an appointment. 

Two vaccinations are needed for full protection and the priority groups will be the first to receive the jabs.