Lichfield Cathedral is transformed into a Covid jab station

Lichfield Cathedral is transformed into a Covid jab station

January 15, 2021

The Holy Dose: Pensioners flock to 826-year-old Lichfield Cathedral after it’s transformed into Covid jab station to bolster Britain’s fight against outbreak 

  • Hundreds of people thronged the magnificent 826-year-old building to receive a dose of the Oxford vaccine
  • Boris Johnson today urged to double his target for 14million vaccinations by mid-February to end lockdown
  • Several other major buildings have been turned into jab centres, including Epsom Racecourse in Surrey

Pensioners flocked to Litchfield Cathedral today after it was transformed into a make-shift Covid vaccination centre. 

Hundreds of people thronged the magnificent 826-year-old gothic edifice to visit temporary nursing stations where they received the Oxford-AstraZeneca injection. 

Britain’s oldest three-spired cathedral, in Staffordshire, was dubbed ‘the most glamorous vaccine centre in Britain’ by the city’s MP.

Field hospital-style facilities and waiting areas have been set up inside the landmark, including along its central aisle.

Lichfield is one of a series of major buildings that have re-purposed to bolster Britain’s vaccine rollout, including Epsom Racecourse in Surrey, Ashton Gate stadium in Bristol and London’s Excel Centre. 

Boris Johnson was urged to double his target for 14million vaccinations by mid-February today amid signs brutal lockdowns have finally started to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

Hundreds of people arrived at Lichfield Cathedral today to visit temporary nursing stations where they received the Oxford-AstraZeneca injection

Peter Whatson, 91, receives an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at Lichfield Cathedral this morning 

The Staffordshire cathedral dates back to the Anglo-Saxon era, while the bulk of the current building was constructed around 1195

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Rev Adrian Dorber, said people working at the centre were ‘buzzing’ – with volunteers glad to help out.

He said of the centre: ‘It’s great, it’s a real glimmer of hope after a very dark year, and we are delighted to be able to offer the place as a nice, airy, socially distanced space in which this can take place.

‘I hope it’s a symbol of how all the communities can come together to facilitate the rollout of this amazing vaccine.’

The dean, who has overall charge of the cathedral, said setting up the centre was surprisingly straightforward, taking only a couple of days.

He said: ‘We issued the invitation as soon as we heard of the dawning of the vaccine last autumn. We have been in negotiation with the practices since then, saying the offer is there, we will do all we can to help you.

‘So we had a plan, and we tend at this time of year anyway to sort of clear the nave of furniture so that during the quiet months people can get an uninterrupted view of the space.’  

The cathedral’s daily worship is currently taking place online, and the building is expected to be closed to public worship for around two months.

Asked how long the centre might be required at the church, the dean added: ‘Let’s just see. It’s just great that we can help in this way.’

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant tweeted a picture of local people queueing for appointments at the centre, and referenced the historical site’s role as a place of pilgrimage.

The Conservative MP wrote: ‘This just has to be the most glamorous vaccine centre in Britain! They came in the Middle Ages for the cure. They still come today.’  

Boris Johnson demands to take advantage of the space created by the brutal restrictions as figures showed the number of jabs being administered rocketing to over 290,000 a day. 

The UK is expected to have capacity for 3.8million jabs next week – meaning the existing goal of covering the four most vulnerable groups by February 15 should be met. 

Boris Johnson is facing demands to take advantage of the space created by the brutal restrictions as figures showed the number of jabs being administered rocketing to over 290,000 a day 

Audrey Elson, 84, leaves with her daughter after receiving her first dose of the Oxford jab inside the gothic edifice 

Mrs Elson receiving the vaccine at one of the nursing stations. She wore both a face mask and face visor to stay safe 

The UK is expected to have capacity for 3.8million jabs next week – meaning the existing goal of covering the four most vulnerable groups by February 15 should be met

Hopes the peak of the second wave has finally passed grew yesterday after a raft of official data and scientific estimates offered the strongest evidence yet that restrictions are tackling the mutant strain 

Hopes the peak of the second wave has finally passed grew yesterday after a raft of official data and scientific estimates offered the strongest evidence yet that restrictions are tackling the mutant strain.

Cambridge University researchers believe the R rate – the average number of people each infected person passes the disease onto – may have dipped to as low as 0.6 in London and the South East. The figure must be below one for an outbreak to shrink.

Public Health England revealed weekly Covid cases have fallen in every age group except the over-80s, and Department of Health figures showed dozens of boroughs saw a drop in infection rates.

Another 48,682 infections were recorded yesterday, down 7.5 per cent on the same day last week. But hospital admissions and deaths across Britain have yet to drop, despite Government data showing that both measures have slowed in London and other parts of the country. 

Mr Johnson has shelved the idea of toughening lockdown for now, after days of swirling rumours that non-essential click and collect and exercising with a friend could be banned in England.

But despite the optimism over the vaccine rollout there are still huge challenges, with new figures today showing the economy is on track for a double-dip recession. GDP was down 2.6 per cent during the looser national lockdown in November 

Several other major buildings aside from Lichfield – pictured – have also been turned into vaccine centres, including Epsom Racecourse 

A further 48,682 cases were reported today, bringing the country’s overall pandemic total to 3,292,014 – up 1,157 on yesterday but crucially down 3,936 from last Thursday’s data

Deaths in the past 24 hours rose by 1,248 – a 7.4 per cent climb from last week’s 1,162 – bringing the UK’s grim fatality toll to 86,015

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