Three Cathedrals in England and a Christian Community Services Centre in India are now locations for delivering the COVID vaccinations
The Sunday Times (Jan 17) reports long queues in the cloisters of Salisbury Cathedral yesterday for treatment at what is surely the country’s most architecturally splendid vaccination centre. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/a-little-bit-of-bach-with-your-vaccination-organists-waft-away-covid-cares-zhjf7nxzt
But you don’t just get a life-saving jab here — you also get a free organ recital. The cathedral organist, David Halls, provided a medley of reassuring music, taking turns with his assistant, John Challenger. The serene and reassuring music-while-they-jab included Bach’s Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring and Air on the G String, a bit of gentle Elgar, Pachelbel’s Canon (which sounds simple but apparently gets very taxing after the 25th bar), and Handel’s Largo. Once patients received their dose of the vaccine — the oldest was a woman of 103 — they were asked to sit on chairs, socially distanced, in the nave, for 15 minutes. Music does seem to add a little something to the atmosphere. “It’s led to a degree of calm,” said Dr Dan Henderson, the GP in charge of the Salisbury centre.
The BBC reports that hundreds of people have queued at Lichfield Cathedral to get their coronavirus vaccination. ://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-55683025
Field hospital style facilities along with waiting areas have been set up inside the cathedral, including along its central aisle. The Dean of Lichfield said people working there had been “buzzing” to help. Lichfield Cathedral was a pilgrimage for the sick during the Middle Ages. Now it’s become a vaccination hub. The central aisle of the historic building has been turned into a vaccination centre. Although places of worship have been allowed to stay open during the latest lockdown, the cathedral has chosen to close, holding services online.
The dean Very Rev Adrian Dorber offered use of the cathedral to the Lichfield Primary Care Network after news of Covid vaccines emerged. He said setting it up had only taken a couple of days: “We’ve got some really well-drilled volunteers and a really capable staff, who have just kind of gone into ‘battle action’ and done it,” he said.
Deirdre Smouna, from the local primary care network, said staff had quickly realised how ideal a location the cathedral was. “It is not hard to find,” she said. “ It has a large amount of parking nearby, the main entrance is flat, and the nave is long enough to provide socially distanced queuing.”
The Lancashire Telegraph reported that thousands of people aged 80 and over are set to be invited to book a coronavirus vaccination at Blackburn Cathedral. https://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/19016820.coronavirus-thousands-set-invited-new-vaccination-centre-blackburn-cathedral/. Anyone who is eligible, who lives within 45 minutes’ drive of the cathedral and who has not yet been vaccinated by their local GP will soon receive letters telling them how they can book their appointment.
Dean of Blackburn Cathedral, the Very Reverend Peter Howell-Jones said: “At the heart of the Christian faith is love and hospitality, and a God that cares for all people. It is only right that in times of national crisis we offer our building as a safe and accessible space for this exciting vaccination programme and be here to serve the nation in these times of deep uncertainty and fear.
“We see this as a sign of great hope in the fight against this pandemic and are proud to be at the heart of it.”
People driving into Blackburn to get their coronavirus vaccination at Blackburn Cathedral will be able to park for free in Council-owned car parks at Weir Street and Penny Street.
Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Mohammed Khan said: “I am delighted that Blackburn Cathedral’s crypt will soon host the first large vaccination centre in Lancashire.
“This is a small piece of history for our borough that we can wear proudly and, while all indications are our battle with the virus will get worse before it gets better, this marks a real turning point. My warmest thanks to the team at the cathedral for facilitating this.”
In Bangalore India, Canon Vinay Samuel reports that the Area Municipal Medical Officer came on January 6 to request that the health centre at Divya Shanthi Christian Community Services be the main centre for Covid vaccination facility for the area. Dr Samuel said: “We expect the vaccinations to start in 10 days. Both our facilities will be used and we need to cover about 59,000 individuals. Dr Venkatesh was himself hospitalized with Covid for nearly a month. Our team visited him and prayed with him regularly. He is very keen on partnership with our health programme. We will also provide about 15 volunteers to assist with the vaccination programme. Being chosen as the vaccination centre for the area is a big boost for our primary health programme and will expand our community health work significantly.” https://efacglobal.com/news/2021-01/divya-shanthi-selected-as-vaccination-centre-in-bangalore