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Wiltshire Air Ambulance offers up airbase as vaccine centre

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has offered its airbase to the NHS as a potential vaccination centre – ensuring the people of Melksham, Semington, Bowerhill, Berryfields and other surrounding villages don’t have to travel far for their jabs.

The charity’s airbase in Semington, near Trowbridge, was used by South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASfT) last year as a COVID-19 testing centre for selected front line workers.

Now the airbase could become a vaccination centre as the country looks to rollout lifesaving protection to the most vulnerable members of the public, as well as front line NHS staff and primary care workers.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance chief executive David Philpott says: “Our airbase is a clinically secure building which is currently closed to the public, with our charity staff working from home and only our aircrew on site.

“Earlier in the pandemic we were able to support SWASfT with COVID-19 testing for their employees and now we want to help again so have therefore offered our airbase to the NHS as a potential vaccination site.

“The rollout of the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine, adding to the Pzifer-BioNTech jab, offers real hope that the end is in sight for the Coronavirus pandemic, so if we can do our little bit to help then it’s only right that we try.”

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has been operating on the front line throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, being tasked to 1,238 incidents during 2020 – a record number since the charity became stand-alone in 2015.

The charity was forced to make alterations to their helicopter to provide a secure COVID-19 safe seal between the pilot’s cockpit and medical cabin, as well as aircrew being required to wear PPE at incidents.

Seven super-vaccination sites have now opened across England, adding to 1,000 GP sites, 200 community pharmacies and 223 hospital hubs.

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