Here is some information on getting a COVID-19 vaccination in York that might be useful for anyone feeling anxious or apprehensive about the process. Information is based on some individual experiences of people in York who have received their first vaccination as part of priority groups 1 – 4. Of course, not everyone’s experiences will be the same but we hope this helps.
Please note that this post was written in February 2021 so changes to processes an the site may have taken place.
Please also visit the Askham Bar Vaccination Centre website for information from Nimbuscare on the details of the vaccination process.
Getting an invitation
We are aware of a few ways that people have been invited to get their vaccination:
- phone call from their local doctor’s surgery
- text message from their doctor’s surgery with a link to a website where an appointment could be booked, the message also included a phone number to call as an alternative
- letter in the post
Booking an appointment online
The booking system involved entering some personal details such as name, date of birth, address and doctor’s surgery into an online form. At the time of writing you were also asked to confirm if you are considered ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ and whether you had been shielding.
The last steps of the process were to select a date and time for your first appointment from the choices offered. You could select from a small number of days, in one case this included the same day as the invitation had been received. Once a date had been selected, time slots were offered. In one case, the invitation was received at 5.30pm and the time slots available for the same evening ran from around 6.00pm until 7.35pm.
Once the first appointment was booked, a date for the second appointment may be given. In this case the date was 12 weeks after the first appointment. Time slots for this date were offered. Please note that an appointment for the second vaccination was not offered in every case.
The very last step in the process was to confirm the details of the appointment on the final screen. The information given included location, date, time, booking reference number. For an appointment made at Askham Bar Park and Ride, information on whether to use the Red or Blue entrance was also given. You are asked to bring identification with you, although nobody has reported being asked for it.
An email or text message confirmation of the appointment details was then received. Email confirmations came from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Askham Bar Vaccination Centre
Please note that the majority of the information here is based on individual experiences of accessing the ‘Red area’ of the vaccination site.
Is it wheelchair accessible? The site is level and has Blue Badge parking spaces. Entrance and exit of the temporary building is up a short, fairly steep threshold ramp. Please continue reading for more details.
Is it clear where to go? There is signage around the site which is in large, clear fonts. There is a ‘Red’ and a ‘Blue’ entrance which display both a coloured square and text. There is some visual information on the floor inside the building, however none of our reporters noticed any tactile information. There are plenty of staff around who assist in directing you where to go while maintaining a safe distance.
Can I take someone in with me? The Nimbuscare website states “We would prefer you to come alone, but if you need to have someone with you we ask that you bring just one person.” One of our reporters took someone in with them to help them physically, another saw a number of people who were accompanied by someone.
Are there toilets on site? Toilets in Portakabins are on site, accessed up a small number of steps. The people who have given this information didn’t need to use any accessible toilets so cannot confirm whether they’re available. If you know, please leave a comment.
Will it be cold inside? Our reporters would recommend dressing warmly, but with a loose or short-sleeved top underneath for access to your upper arm when getting the injection. There was a heater in the waiting area.
Disabled parking was available near the Red entrance. Display a Blue Badge or speak to one of the many helpful assistants who are around the site to direct you. (Please note that these assistants were seen to be wearing masks and kept a good distance when speaking to you). One person reports that they parked in a non-disabled space as it was actually closer to the entrance and exit. There was plenty of parking available.
The Red entrance and Blue entrance were signposted, using colours, arrows and text in big fonts. There were also a number of assistants available to direct people. Before entering, anti-bacterial gel is applied to your hands by an assistant.
The Red entrance was through a marquee (tent). This was a completely level entrance without a door. At the end of the marquee there is a sign which displays concise information on the vaccination process.
The building is entered through an open door and a short threshold ramp. One person reports that the ramp was fairly steep and used the door frame to help them get up the threshold. For manual and powered wheelchair users the threshold may present a challenge depending on type of chair etc. One person reports overhearing a member of staff saying that wheelchair users may need to go backwards over the threshold. Someone was seen entering and exiting the building in a tall powerchair and was able to go over the threshold, taking it slowly.
Inside the building
Directly in front of the entrance are a couple of members of staff sitting at desks who will take your details and explain what the process will be.
You then enter a queuing area which is spacious and marks out waiting points with floor stickers which are two metres apart. Individuals report that this process was very fast. With one person stating that they were in a queue of around 4 people and another having had nobody to queue behind.
The flooring throughout the building is step-free and reasonably level.
Once at the front of the queuing area you will then be called and waved over by a member of staff to a small screened area and invited to sit in a small plastic chair. There were no visible markings indicating the route to the screened area. This may present a challenge for visually impaired people.
There will be a member of staff who checks your details on a computer and a member of staff who will give you the vaccine. All members of staff were reported to have been wearing face masks.
You’ll be asked a series of questions to confirm your details. One person reports that the level of noise in the building made hearing the questions difficult.
Having had the vaccine you are given a small card with details of the type of vaccine and the date and time of your next appointment.
You may then be asked to sit in a waiting area for 15 minutes before leaving. There are plenty of staff around to observe people who’ve just had the vaccine. Nobody has reported seeing anyone have any problems. Some people were not asked to wait, others were asked to wait in their cars.
The waiting area is reported to be warmed by a heater and clocks are visible on the walls to make you aware of the time that you can leave. Chairs are spaced around 2 metres apart.
Next to the exit there is a table with a bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel which is available to use.
The door to exit is a fire door with a push-bar. There is a short threshold ramp at the exit. One person reports seeing someone exit the building over this threshold using a tall powerchair, with the door being held open by a member of staff.
The people who have given us this information have been impressed with the speed and efficiency of the process. Although there were some slight difficulties there was nothing that was unmanageable for them and all reported to have had a good experience, particularly with there being so many helpful and friendly staff.
Thank you to the NHS, military staff and everyone else volunteering to help out!