Publish date: 11 March 2021

London’s Business Design Centre opens its doors this week as a large- scale COVID-19 vaccination facility. Run by UCLH, people in the current priority groups will be the first to be vaccinated at the centre as part of the NHS vaccination programme.

The Business Design Centre, based in the heart of the London Borough of Islington, normally plays host to around two hundred and fifty events each year, welcoming almost one million visitors through its doors. The large exhibition hall has been converted in to a vaccination centre, with private booths where people are consented and then vaccinated. The bright and welcoming space makes social distancing easy, with volunteers and staff on hand to help guide people through the process.  

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UCLH Director of Strategy, Laura Churchward said: “We are delighted that the large scale vaccine centre at Islington’s Business Design Centre is opening and I would like to thank everyone involved in setting it up. I would also like to encourage everyone who is invited to have a vaccine to take it up. Being vaccinated is the best protection against coronavirus.”

The venue’s occupation as the vaccination centre isn’t the first time that the building has been used for the nation’s benefit, with the Government’s requisition of the then Royal Agricultural Hall for use throughout the Second World War. The building rehomed the Inland and Foreign Parcels Department from the Mount Pleasant Post Office where parts of it remained until after the war. 

Business Design Centre, Chief Executive Dominic Jones comments, “We were absolutely delighted that our offer to donate venue space at the Business Design Centre was welcomed by the government and NHS. Playing our part in the national effort to support the vaccination programme is of vital importance in the country’s recovery and that we can lend our expertise in facilitating this was similarly received by our team and clients alike. We look forward to welcoming those attending for their vaccinations in the coming months and to continuing to support the great work that the NHS staff and their volunteers are doing at this time, which brings us closer to reopening businesses and to what we love most, holding events that bring people together.”

Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, said: “The opening of another vaccination facility here in Islington is a huge boost to the efforts of our NHS partners in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, and we are extremely proud to be supporting it.

“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our families and our community. The size and location of the Business Design Centre makes it an ideal venue for this vital, large-scale vaccination programme, which offers us all the best possible chance to get back to a more normal way of life. Islington’s amazing community has pulled together and supported each other throughout the pandemic. Now we can all play our part in defeating this terrible disease by getting vaccinated. The vaccine has passed all the tests to ensure it is safe and effective. It gives us all the best possible protection from the disease, and the more people who are protected the safer we will all be. The NHS has a clear plan and will be in touch when it is your turn for the vaccine – so don’t contact your GP or hospital to request it. Please make sure you attend your appointment. Vaccinating everyone will take several months so we must still protect each other by staying at home, washing our hands, wearing a face covering and keeping a distance from people outside our households. Thank you for helping Islington stay safe.”