There are currently more than 20 sites delivering COVID-19 vaccinations across Dorset including GP-led vaccination services, pharmacies, and the large vaccination centre at the Bournemouth International Centre.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme in Dorset has made a strong start, with the most vulnerable being vaccinated first, according to national guidance.

Sites have been chosen in order to deliver the vaccination in the most effective way, enabling as many people as possible to get protected in as short a time as possible.

To help those who do need to travel safely, four key points of advice have been issued by the local NHS:

  • Where possible, please use your own transport. If you are not able to do so and are relying on someone to transport you, use someone within your support bubble. This will reduce your risk of catching or spreading the virus and reduce the risk to other people within your household or bubble.
  • If you need to use public transport or a known COVID-secure taxi service, please stick to the current guidance – for example socially distance where possible, wear a mask and use hand sanitiser.
  • More guidance on the use of public transport is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers.
  • Travel to a vaccination appointment is considered an essential journey.

Dr Karen Kirkham, local Dorset GP, and Clinical lead for the Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme, said: “It’s really important for people to follow the national guidance when travelling to your COVID-19 vaccination, both to protect yourself and those around you from the virus.

“We hope this advice will be helpful to those who have been invited for their vaccination and are planning how they will get to their appointment.

“The vaccination roll-out is good news, but more than ever, we all have to continue to do our bit to control the virus and protect those around us.

“GP-led vaccination services are now up and running across Dorset. All of Dorset’s 18 primary care networks are now offering vaccine. These services involve groups of GPs working together as primary care networks to vaccinate the most vulnerable to their collective patients in one location; this means that you may not be vaccinated by your local GP; you may be required to travel to a different site nearby to where you live.

“The large vaccination centre at the Bournemouth International Centre is one of several places people can get their jab – if you already have an appointment through your GP at a local vaccination centre, or at a local hospital hub, please attend that appointment. This will prevent wasted appointments that the NHS cannot fill at short notice.

The large vaccination centres offer an important additional option for people who are eligible. But we want to be clear that this is just another option. If you can’t travel or you would rather wait for an appointment closer to home, you can choose to do that, and your local GP-led service will be in touch soon to offer an alternative.”

Dr Nicky Cleave, Assistant Director of Public Health at Public Health Dorset, said:

“It has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm across Dorset for the COVID-19 vaccination programme, with over 110,000 doses administered so far. Whilst this is really positive news, we are still seeing high numbers of COVID cases locally so we need to do everything we can to protect those who are more vulnerable.

“The safest way for someone to get to their vaccination appointment is to travel in their own car or with their support bubble. If this isn’t possible, COVID-secure taxis are a good option. If you are thinking of offering to take someone outside of your household or support bubble to their appointment, please think twice. COVID-19 can spread easily in a car and around 1 in 3 people with the virus don’t show any symptoms, so you could have it without knowing and spread it to the vulnerable people you are trying to help.

“Please be assured that safer options will be available for people who are unable to travel and they will still be able to get vaccinated.”

You will not be given a vaccination if you turn up speculatively at a vaccination site and you may be disrupting the vaccination process for other people, please do not make unnecessary journeys if you are not invited.

For more information about the Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme, see here: https://www.dorsetccg.nhs.uk/vaccinations/