Covid vaccination centre opens in Poets' Corner

Wednesday, 10th March 2021

Covid vaccination centre opens in Poets' Corner

The NHS today opens a new Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Westminster Abbey.

Run by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, on behalf of the local GP network, it will provide up to two thousand life-saving jabs each week in the south transept which is home to the world-famous Poets’ Corner where more than 100 poets and writers are buried or have memorials.

GPs will be able to book those in the latest priority groups into the Abbey clinic which will be open two days a week.

The Abbey will remain open for the 12.30pm Holy Communion service. The clinic will continue to operate while the Dean & Chapter explores a timetable for opening the church for more daily and Sunday services and, eventually, tourist visiting.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, said:

'I walked back from having my own vaccination just days ago, suddenly filled with new confidence for the months ahead.  I am full of admiration for the marvellous, dedicated people who make all of this possible.  I am thrilled that the Abbey, once a place of sanctuary, is now able to send people out in greater safety.  The Abbey is always a place of welcome for all, and I look forward to seeing many people here over the coming months.'

Pippa Nightingale, North West London NHS lead for the vaccination programme, said:

'We are really pleased to be opening a new vaccination clinic in Westminster.  Our gratitude goes out to the team at the iconic Westminster Abbey for allowing us to use the building and to their volunteers for supporting the running of the clinic.  Westminster has seen lower uptake of the vaccine than some other areas of London so we are working hard to encourage residents to come for their vaccine when it is their time to do so.'

The Abbey clinic is open only for those with an appointment. Invitation letters will explain how people can book a slot and NHS leaders are urging people not to turn up at the centres without an appointment.

More vaccination centres will be launched in North West London in the coming weeks to increase the numbers of people who can be vaccinated each day.