PLANS to reopen a mass Covid vaccination centre in Dorset are 'under review' following the government's announcement about the booster roll-out this week.

However, with a current workforce that is ‘on its knees’ an ‘army of volunteers’ is being urged to step forward to help roll-out boosters to the entire adult population of the county.

Dr Andy Rutland, Dorset GP and clinical lead for the Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme, said: “We are absolutely committed to getting the whole of Dorset fully vaccinated as soon as we can.

“We are looking at walk-in sites and options across the county, so are Dorset Healthcare who are commissioned to run these large-scale sites by NHS England.”

Until the government’s announcement on Monday, only adults over the age of 40 were eligible to receive their booster.

Dr Rutland said: “Until the programme expansion was announced we didn’t feel that a walk-in was appropriate for the population we were targeting at the time and that’s under review.”

The vaccination programme has now been running for nearly a year, with health care staff expected to carry out the additional work on top of their already heavy workload.

Dr Rutland said: “We’ve got a workforce that is pretty much on its knees.

“We’ve done nearly 1.4 million vaccines - that’s about 4,000 vaccines a day which is about 400 hours of additional work a day.”

Ensuring as little additional strain is put on current staff as possible, discussions have been ongoing within the CCG as to how to increase the workforce.

Dr Rutland said: “If we are going to deliver more vaccines we need to ensure we have got the workforce to do it.

“We’ve got the vaccine supply and the government did have some good suggestions as to how this might happen. There are conversations with the armed forces and conversations about supporting a ready-return to practice for clinicians who have retired.

“It’s all stuff we’ve done before but just trying to reinvigorate that workforce again - I think if we can do that, that is the tool that will help us to actually deliver.”

READ MORE: ‘The prospect remains bleak’: Bournemouth MP slams CCG

An increased delivery of vaccinations will be seen across community pharmacies and other venues across the county including a new large scale site in west Dorset - the location of which is yet to be confirmed.

The number of boosters administered across the county is increasing; there were 213,800 booster jabs (56 per cent of the eligible population) given as of Monday, November 29.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood has echoed the comments of Dr Rutland by calling for an “army of trained volunteers” to step forward “given the new sense of urgency” with the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Still keen to campaign for a dedicated large-scale vaccination centre, like that previously seen at the Bournemouth International Centre, Mr Ellwood said: “It is the government’s mission to ensure that everyone gets their booster.”

However, Mr Ellwood who previously volunteered at the BIC vaccination site, said: “It is imperative that we look at ways to provide a greater workforce so that we are not burdening medical staff.”

READ MORE: MP Tobias Ellwood calls for new Covid vaccine hub in Dorset

Dorset CCG is yet to announce a full list of the new vaccination clinics opening in response to the government’s roll-out of the booster programme to all adults.