Prof Mike Holmes, who leads York’s vaccination services on the former Askham Bar Park & Ride site, explains in his latest column for The Press how the two systems work for patients

THE announcement that over two thirds of priority group 5 (65 to 69yr olds) across the UK have now had their first Covid vaccination is such welcome news. Our teams in York have been working hard and we are possibly even slightly ahead of that statistic.

Our teams have been working together since December and we are certainly seeing the benefit of their hard work. One patient commented this week on Twitter that we were like a “well-oiled machine” – high praise indeed but actually when I observe the effort they put in it is hard to disagree with that observation. Despite all of that we realise there is a long way to go and a lot of hard work yet to do.

We also realise that there is quite a lot of confusion still about who gets the vaccine and when. Last week we saw more patients added to the shielding list centrally and again this adds to the challenge. The reality is the effort is about making sure those at highest risk get the vaccine first – which of course seems entirely reasonable. The rapid pace and quick introduction of guidance seems to be commonplace now and we are certainly getting used to it. Our pledge is that Nimbuscare, alongside all the GPs in the city and our local NHS will try to make this are clear as possible.

There is another layer of complexity here in York as we have two distinct services running alongside each other at the Askham Bar.

So let me explain….

The Nimbuscare-run vaccination centre at Askham Bar delivers two NHS services. This is not the case in the majority of the national vaccination centres and means that York people get the best of both worlds.

The two services are:

• National Vaccination Centre

You can book onto this service using the national online booking service.

You will be invited to book via a letter from the NHS when it is your turn to book.

This service is currently inviting people in priority group 5 and, from this week, the age groups will continue to expand.

For people who have already visited the site, this is the BLUE vaccination area in the cabins and provides exclusively the Astra-Zeneca/Oxford Vaccine. It is provided from within the modular buildings at Askham Bar.

This service is run by Nimbuscare on behalf of our local GP practices. ( and is for people who live within a 45-minute drive of the vaccination centre.

• Local Vaccination Service

This service is for York patients only.Invitations for vaccinations usually go out by text message or by phone, on behalf of their GP Practice, inviting people to book via a separate local booking system

For people who have already visited the site, this is the RED vaccination area in the large Marquee and uses a combination of both Pfizer and the Astra-Zeneca/Oxford vaccine depending on what is available.This service is currently inviting people in priority group 6 (at risk patients). This will be by text of phone call with a link to the local online booking system.

This local service is reserved for patients of the 11 local GP Practices that make up Nimbuscare (

Within this service we also run some satellite clinics at Haxby, Pocklington and Elvington and others services will pop-up as need to make sure everyone has good access to services. We are continually looking at how we can improve access in the most effective way.

We have also have the benefit of the Hospital having been running vaccination clinics, mainly for staff, and we will see community pharmacy starting to offer clinics – these will be available through the national booking system too when you receive a letter from the NHS.

The beauty of having multiple services on our door step, means that York people have choice around when and where they receive this potentially lifesaving vaccination. This feels like a really positive situation for us.