YORK’S mass vaccination centre is likely to continue in operation this autumn to deliver most of the city’s Covid booster jabs, The Press can reveal.

However, the simultaneous massive flu vaccination programme is expected to be delivered from a variety of sites across the city, with children possibly given the vaccine via a nasal spray.

The developments are revealed in the latest column for this newspaper, written by Professor Mike Holmes, who leads the complex at Askham Bar.

He says many people have been asking him how York will be dealing with the forthcoming Covid booster and flu vaccination programmes, which are intended to prevent a winter surge in both types of illness.

He says Nimbuscare, which runs the centre, has been in discussions with public health and GP practice members, as well as other health and care and voluntary organisations, to work out the best way to deliver this in York as national guidance is published.

"We are now in advanced talks with our member GP Practices about continuing to deliver most of the new Covid booster vaccinations, on behalf of GP practices, from the Askham Bar Vaccination Centre.

“GP practices are currently looking at how best to deliver the flu vaccinations to eligible people and will be in touch with patients shortly.

“It is expected that the flu vaccine will be delivered from a variety of sites across the city. For children and young people this may be in the form of a nasal spray.”

Meanwhile, Prof Holmes says the end on Monday to legal Covid restrictions were known by some as ‘Freedom Day’ but that wasn’t how he saw it, as the pandemic was not over and vaccination centre staff would continue with face coverings, social distancing and hand hygiene and ask all visitors to do the same.

The professor, who is a GP, also says that within GP practices, staff are continuing to face ‘huge volumes’ of verbal abuse and anger from patients.

He says surgeries are seeing a huge surge in demand from patients, whilst at the same time having to cope with staff off sick and large numbers of staff isolating, although he realises patients are frustrated and anxious.

He also says he is seeing more patients with mental health issues than ever before in his clinics and this is very worrying.

“Yes, we have people suffering greatly from this dreadful virus, but it’s also left its mark on many of us emotionally and mentally,” he says. "Many people are struggling with their mental health as a result of the last 18 months.”

Click here to read Prof Holmes' column in full.