Protests halt opening of new Churchill Square Covid vaccination centre in Brighton

By Christian Fuller  chris_fuller11 Digital reporter

Protests outside new Churchill Square Covid vaccine centre

Protests outside new Churchill Square Covid vaccine centre

PROTESTS disrupted the opening of a new Covid-19 vaccination centre inside a popular shopping centre.

The Brighton Centre’s vaccination service was due to move to the former Topshop store in Churchill Square on Monday, August 30.

Vaccinations were due to be available via booked appointments or walk-ins from 8.30am.

However, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the vaccination centre on Monday afternoon.

The vaccine centre was closed to members of the public while the protest took place.

Notorious conspiracy theorist Kate Shemirani, from East Sussex, was pictured outside the centre speaking to the crowd.

The Argus: Protests outside new Churchill Square Covid vaccine centre Protests outside new Churchill Square Covid vaccine centre

Ms Shemirani spoke to the crowd through a microphone, while other protesters held placards with messages including ‘Can you trust the media?’.

Churchill Square shopping centre was also evacuated after a smoke flare was set off inside.

Footage shared on Twitter by Lucas Foganholo showed orange smoke engulfing the shopping centre after a flare appeared to have been placed inside a bin.

As a result of the disruption, the Sussex Community NHS asked those with vaccination appointments at the new centre at Churchill Square not to attend on Monday.

In a statement shared they said: “Due to ongoing disruption at Churchill Square in Brighton our vaccination centre in the former Topshop store will be closed until at least 3pm today.

“Please do not attend appointments.”

The former Topshop store has taken over from the Brighton Centre as the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust’s (SCFT’s) largest Covid-19 vaccination hub.

The Brighton Centre site opened in January, delivering up to 3,000 vaccinations a day during peak demand.

It was staffed by more than 150 SCFT workers and over 100 volunteers, every day since.

The team has delivered a total of over 250,000 first and second dose vaccinations at the centre.

It has now moved to former Topshop store with jabs offered to 16 and 17 year olds.

In a statement, the SCFT previously said: “Anyone who has a second dose appointment booked at the Brighton Centre on or after Monday 30 August will be contacted by text message and email and informed about the change of location for their vaccination. The date and time of the appointment should remain the same.”

The Topshop store’s closure officially occurred on February 1 as online fashion retailer Asos secured a £265 million takeover of Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT amid the collapse of the Arcadia empire.

As a result, the flagship Topshop and Topman store in Brighton’s Churchill Square was stripped of stock and fittings.

Anyone receiving their Covid-19 vaccination at the new centre is entitled to one hour’s free parking in the Churchill Square Orange Car Park.

Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues building up.

The vaccination centre will be open from 8.30am to 8pm each day. Walk ins are welcome from 8.30am to 7pm.

All adults can walk in and receive their vaccination without an appointment. The service also offers vaccinations to 16- and 17-year-olds.

To book an appointment visit or call 119.

The number of coronavirus cases in the city have fallen by almost two per cent, it has been revealed.

In the seven days up to August 14, the number of confirmed new Covid-19 cases in Brighton and Hove fell by 1.7 per cent to 1,277.

That’s a rate per hundred thousand of the population of 438 which is higher than the England rate of 328 and the South East rate of 318 per hundred thousand.

However, Alistair Hill, director of public health with Brighton and Hove City Council, warned the drop in cases does not mean the virus has gone.

He said: “For the second week in a row we’ve seen a very small change in the number of confirmed new cases of Covid-19 in the city.

“While on the face of it, this might look like an encouraging hint that numbers are stabilising or are on their way down, it really is too soon to relax.

“The virus is still most present among young adults and teenagers.

“However, the number of cases in older people has risen considerably and we now have one of the highest case rates in people aged 60 and above in the South East.

“This hasn’t led to the same level of seriously ill people needing hospital care that we saw earlier in the pandemic thanks to the effectiveness of the vaccination programme.”


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