THERE can be no doubt that the current Covid 19 global pandemic is the most serious emergency that many of us will experience in our lifetime.

The loss of life is appalling and we must all stand in awe of the doctors and nurses of the NHS who are risking their own lives whilst saving the lives of others.

The next step is to contain the virus and, hopefully, return to the life that we regard to be normal, with healthcare that has been postponed, or even cancelled, being re-scheduled.

To do this we have embarked on a national vaccination programme, a race against time, although there is, at the time of writing, some uncertainty with regard to the supply and the distribution of the vaccines.

Some GP surgeries, where annual flu vaccinations would be available, are just too small to provide the necessary waiting area with social distancing, a vaccination area and a third area to check for any adverse reaction post-vaccination.

We are now informed that as well as a small number of very large, mass vaccination centres, one at Newcastle, there will be other vaccination centres and some pharmacies will also be encouraged to take part in the national vaccination programme.

I have written to Amanda Healy, the Director of Public Health at Durham County Council, to respectfully suggest that the county council now liaises with Boots, the chemist in Durham City, in the Market Place and at the Arnison Retail Park, to establish further vaccination centres to permit the vaccinations to be administered at pace.

In the Market Place, the Town Hall, with car parking close by, has the space required as well as separate doors for entry and exit.

At the Arnison Retail Park, there is sufficient space for a drive-through vaccination centre.

Also, please don’t forget the members of the “voluntary sector” in County Durham and Darlington, volunteers who could be used to provide the necessary stewards to support those who are administering the vaccine.

James A Cowan, Squadron Leader, Royal Air Force (Ret’d), Durham.