‘I can’t wait to get some sun in Spain soon’: Optimism as Chesterfield’s Casa Hotel opens as a coronavirus vaccination centre
This time last year, who would have thought that Chesterfield’s Casa Hotel would become a vaccination centre in the fight against a global pandemic in early 2021.
That is exactly what happened on Thursday when the prominent building on Lockoford Lane opened its doors to start the inoculation of thousands of members of the public.
The centre is being run by specially-trained pharmacists and staff from local Peak Pharmacy branches.
Workers at Casa are also helping with important duties such as marshalling.
Among the first to have their jabs were 74-year-old Graham Saint and his wife, Rose, 73, of Newbold.
They described the process as ‘quick and painless’ and praised everyone involved in the operation.
Mr Saint said: “We’re looking forward to going on a nice holiday when we can.
“Everyone needs a nice holiday after this nightmare.”
John Newsam, 75, of Winster, said he ‘didn’t feel a thing’ when he had his vaccine.
He added: “I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends when it’s safe to do so.
“I’ve got a house in Spain so I’m looking forward to getting out there again too – I need some sun!”
Chesterfield woman Sheila Wood, who is in her 70s, said: “I’m used to having vaccinations and I’m pleased to say this one went absolutely fine.
“I’m getting bored with being stuck inside watching TV and reading so I’m looking forward to life getting back to normal – sooner rather than later hopefully.”
Catherine Leafe-Lomas, 26, of Buxton, is one of the pharmacists carrying out the jabs.
She said: “We’re all very proud to be involved in the vaccination programme – it’s going really well so far.”
She urged people to get their vaccination when they are invited.
Darryl Dethick, head of business transformation at Peak Pharmacy – which is part of PCT Healthcare – said Casa will be used as a vaccination centre until the end of June but ‘we can extend the date’.
Eventually, it will be open between 8am and 8pm seven-days-a-week – carrying out around 300 jabs daily.
Mr Dethick added: “There’s been a lot of planning and many people are working together to make all of this happen – it’s been a real team effort.
“Today is an important day for Chesterfield in the fight against coronavirus.”
Casa is owned by Steve Perez, who said: “The more vaccination centres we can have in Chesterfield, the better – and the quicker we can get back to living our lives again.”
On Wednesday, it emerged that more than 10 million people in the UK had received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This terrific achievement is testament to the monumental effort of NHS workers, volunteers and the armed forces who have been working tirelessly in every corner of the UK to deliver the largest vaccination programme in our history.
“Every jab makes us all a bit safer – I want to thank everyone for playing their part.
“Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic.
“The unprecedented national effort we have seen right across the UK means the majority of our most vulnerable people are now inoculated against this awful disease.”