MORE walk-in vaccination centres opened this weekend as the town battles to replicate Bolton's success in bringing down covid infection rates.

Town hall chiefs are calling for Bury to implement a surge vaccination programme as the Government promised the town ­— along with the rest of Greater Manchester and Lancashire ­— extra support in tackling rising coronavirus cases, with the region categorised as an 'enhanced covid response area'.

The support package pledge came just days before the country's leading public health figures visited Bolton to find out how the town, which had recently the highest cases of coronavirus, had turned the curve.

Dr Andrew Furber, Regional Director Public Health England North West, said the aim was to replicate what had been done in Bolton in 'hotspots' rather than the whole of Greater Manchester and Lancashire because of the geographical size of the area.

He said this would focus on testing, vaccination and community engagement.

Vaccination centre at Khizra Mosque.Picture Danny Crompton

Vaccination centre at Khizra Mosque.Picture Danny Crompton

Mr Fuber said that the although the NHS was responsible for the vaccine roll out, he moved to reassure people that there was no issue with supply of vaccines ­— and the eligibility criteria was wider than most people would think.

He said: "If anybody wants the vaccine they should register, turn up go to the drop-in sites and they will get vaccinated, we have not seen anyone turn up for a vaccine and be turned away.

"So the message is go and get your vaccine if we start getting queues of people then that is brilliant, we should get more vaccine.

"Anybody who is aged 25 and above is eligible, and if you are aged 18 and above and fall into one of the eligibility criteria ­— for example if you are caring for an older relative, if you live in a multi-generational household, if you have health condition which puts you at particular risk.

"A lot of people are eligible, so if you are in doubt go up and ask the question the vaccinators will do that assessment with you."

Mr Fuber said the focus was taking the vaccine to communities, as accessibility not hesitancy was the issue.

But he added key to Bolton's success in bringing down rates was due to the community engagement in encouraging people to get tested to contain the spread.

Mr Fuber said:"The thing that has brought the number down is the testing, it is people following that public health advice around washing your hands, wearing the face mask keeping the social distance, trying to meet people outdoors rather than indoors - that is what has made the difference."

Vaccination centre at Khizra Mosque.Picture Danny Crompton

Vaccination centre at Khizra Mosque.Picture Danny Crompton

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of Bolton Council, says he is sharing what Bolton has done with Bury and other neighbouring authorities.

He said: "Clearly they want the same and everyone now wants that and I think the problem the powers that be have is the resource, have they got that capacity. But I genuinely believe once they see this is working they will pulling out all the stops to get the vaccinations out there. I think the surge testing at this point is hugely important, identify where it is, self-isolate and stop that community spread."

Yesterday, Khizra Mosque administered 249 vaccines.

Today a walk-in centre for the Pfizer jab will run from 1.30pm to 5.30pm at Prestwich Walk-in Centre, Fairfax Road, Prestwich M25 1BT.