THE new mass vaccination centre in Rayleigh will open on Friday, it has been confirmed.

NHS bosses revealed to the Echo that the centre at the Mill Hall leisure centre will open this week, with the site the eighth mass centre in Essex.

More large vaccination centres will be going live across Essex in the coming weeks.

Leader of Rochford Council,Simon Wootton said: “The Mill Arts and Events Centre has been closed for much of the pandemic so I am pleased we have been able to work with the NHS in putting it to good use, providing a vaccinations service which will be of benefit to the whole community. 

“The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is an important step in the fight against the virus and, as a council, we are very proud that we have been able to play our part.”

People in the top four priority groups including people aged 70 and over and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable can book to be vaccinated at the centre, alternatively they can choose a community pharmacy or wait to be contacted by their GP vaccination service or hospital hub.  

Nigel Leonard, executive director of strategy and transformation at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, which is coordinating the vaccination centres Essex, said: “Despite the weather conditions this week, we are delighted to be able to open the doors to another vaccination centre in Essex to continue to accelerate our vaccination programme to protect more people across the county.  

“A huge thank you to my NHS colleagues, partners and everyone involved for getting this centre ready quickly."