The venue in Attercliffe will become a temporary site to administer coronavirus jabs to a huge number of people from the city and wider region after a ‘licence to occupy’ agreement was reached between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the arena’s operator, Sheffield City Trust.
Under the deal, all of the building’s ground floor space and part of the car park will be employed for the hub, with a plan to operate the centre for 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
It means the arena will join the likes of the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre and Epsom racecourse in Surrey as part of the Government’s drive to inoculate 14 million people by February.
A report discussed at a meeting of Sheffield Teaching Hospital’s board of directors confirmed the arena had been ‘identified as a site for large scale vaccinations’. The venue’s car park was used by the NHS for a drive-through blood test service last year.
"Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is acting on behalf of the wider healthcare system in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw regarding the programme for Covid-19 vaccination,” the document said.
“The plan is the arena would be used 12 hours per day, seven days per week. This agreement is for use of all the ground floor space and some of the car park from December 1, 2020 to April 2, 2021.
“The cost is £56,250 per month plus VAT to include all insurance, utilities and service charges.”
Volunteer stewards are being recruited to support the centre and the vaccination programme generally, which Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has called ‘an important and historic undertaking’.
It is understood the mass hubs will be appointment-only.
People in the Government’s top four priority groups are eligible to be vaccinated first – these cover all residents and staff in care homes for older adults, the over 70s, all frontline health and social care workers and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.
However the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has pledged that every adult will be offered a vaccine by the autumn.
We have contacted NHS England for comment and are waiting for a reply.