A CALL for a vaccination centre to be set up in Wokingham has come from the leading councillor in charge of health in the Borough after getting his son vaccinated involved a  “two to three hour logistical exercise”.

Wokingham saw its highest number of coronavirus cases in January, which has led to calls for a ‘permanent’ vaccine walk-in centre in the borough.

Councillor Charles Margetts (Conservative, Finchampstead North), the executive member for health at Wokingham Borough Council, has urged for NHS authorities to set a centre up.

However, in order to establish a walk-in centre, the council needs the help of the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the area’s Integrated Care System (ICS).

Cllr Margetts said: “We fully recognise case numbers are high, there’s no doubt about that.

“Our message is to maximise protection through vaccination, which means encouraging the 13 to 14 per cent who haven’t had the second jab and those who have not had a booster to get their vaccines and get their boosters.

“We continue to have real concerns about West Berkshire CCG’s approach to the vaccination campaign.”

READ MORE: Over 1000 cases of coronavirus recorded in Berkshire over the weekend

He argued that the CCG and the ICS should assist the council in setting up a longer term on-demand vaccine site.

Cllr Margetts explained: “The council was in charge of running the two week vaccination centre at Bulmershe.

“That was a huge success.

“Four thousand people got vaccinated in two weeks. We beleive uptake will be really helped if the CCG would support that.”

So far, people in Wokingham Borough can get vaccinated via an appointment at surgeries and pharmacies.

But cllr Margetts and deputy executive member for health cllr Phil Cunnington (Conservative, Norreys) have argued that a permanent walk-in vaccination centre in Wokingham Borough is needed.

That was after it took cllr Margetts’ son ‘around two to three hours’ to get vaccinated at the Boots in Broad Street, Reading.

Cllr Margetts explained: “My 16 year-old son got called for one of his vaccines to Boots in Broad Street at 12pm.

“That means my wife had to drive from Finchampstead to Wokingham, then going from there to Reading, then back to his school and home.

“In all it’s a two to three hour logistical exercise.

“Me and my deputy member cllr Cunnington raised these points with Dr James Kent, the head of the ICS.

“We’re in negotiations to get more walk-in centres and I’m still chasing them for a response.”

So far, the only on demand vaccination centre close to the area is in the Broad Street Mall in Reading. 

READ MORE: These UK travel rules are changing as Covid cases continue to fall

A spokesperson for West Berkshire CCG said members of the public can get vaccinated at pharmacies and surgeries throughout Wokingham, including Burma Hills surgery in Ashridge Road, and at temporary vaccine buses.

The spokesperson said: “Covid vaccinations are available at a number of sites around Wokingham and also at sites nearby including the Mass Vaccination site at Broad Street Mall, Reading.

“In addition, the Health on the Move Van held a walk-in vaccination session at Wokingham Library on Tuesday, February 1, and the dates for future sessions in Wokingham and nearby are as follows:

The spokesperson added: “We encourage everyone who is eligible to have a Covid vaccination as it’s proved to be the most effective way of protecting ourselves and each other and helping stop the spread of the virus.”

160 new cases of covid-19 were reported on Monday, February 14.

In Wokingham Borough, 87.8 per cent of the population have had a first dose, 83.6 per cent have had a second dose, and 68.4 per cent of people have received a third or booster vaccine.