People have shared their experiences of getting a coronavirus jab at a “fabulous” new vaccination centre in Watford.

The new site opened at Watford Town Hall on Thursday, with hundreds of people having booked themselves in to get a vaccine before the centre had opened.

The centre is in the extension to the Town Hall, chosen because it is on one level and has flexible space to accommodate the needs of the centre.

It has the capacity to administer thousands of vaccines a week.

Watford Observer: Suzie Shakespeare (photo NHS/Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust)Suzie Shakespeare (photo NHS/Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust)

Suzie Shakespeare, pod manager for the Watford Town Hall vaccination centre, said: “We have a fantastic team of staff and volunteers here at the new Watford Town Hall vaccination centre who are all working so hard. There’s no need for anyone to worry about coming down, we will look after you and we can’t wait to see you!”

Nina Desai, who works as a donor carer and team assistant for NHS Blood & Transplant Service, was among people to get their coronavirus jab at the centre on Thursday.

Watford Observer: Nina Desai (photo NHS/Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust)Nina Desai (photo NHS/Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust)

Describing her experience, the 58-year-old said: “This vaccination centre at Watford is fabulous. It was all done in no time at all and there’s a lot of team spirit!

“I feel really happy to have it and I’m looking forward to being back at work in March. I’d tell anyone who was nervous about getting it, don’t be. The centre feels very safe and welcoming.”

Amita Patel, 52, who is a supply teacher at Garston Manor, said she felt “really great” about getting the vaccine.

Watford Observer: Amita Patel getting her vaccine (photo NHS/Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust)Amita Patel getting her vaccine (photo NHS/Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust)

She said: “It’s been such an easy process, the system just seems to flow along. I can’t wait to see family again, especially my dad, it’s been so long.”

Maria McHale, who lives in Kings Langley, added: “I was a bit nervous about today because I don’t like vaccines, but actually it was fine. I’m a volunteer befriender for Age UK and I wanted to get the vaccine to look after myself and to help make sure I wasn’t putting anyone else at risk.

“I’m so looking forward to doing all the ‘normal’ things that we haven’t been able to do for so long, like go to the theatre and the cinema, have a meal out with friends. Anything different would feel exciting at the moment!”

Watford Observer: Maria McHale getting her vaccine (photo NHS/Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust)Maria McHale getting her vaccine (photo NHS/Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust)

Nita Botchwey, a learning Assistant at Meadow Wood School in Bushey, said she was concerned by the hesitancy of people getting a vaccine in her local Black African community and wants more people to take it up.

She said: “I’m so pleased to be vaccinated, especially because my son has been on the shielding list and I work in a special needs school. I want to tell all the Black Africans in our community that they must get vaccinated.

“They mustn’t listen to any of the conspiracies out there or be scared by the lies they hear. If we all do our duty as citizens we will come out of this, I don’t want us to lose more people.  I want to tell everyone, as soon as it’s your turn, get the vaccine!”

Watford Observer: Nita Botchwey (photo NHS/Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust)Nita Botchwey (photo NHS/Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust)

Anyone who is aged 70 and over, and those who have been advised to ‘shield’ because they are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable, are now encouraged to get in contact with the NHS if they haven’t got a first appointment already booked, so that they can be vaccinated as soon as possible. 

The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at The system allows eligible people to choose a time slot and location at either a large vaccination site or community pharmacy that suits them.

Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. If a suitable and convenient slot is not available through the national booking system, people can get in contact with their own GP practice.  Practice staff will be able to help their eligible patients to book into a local GP-led vaccination centre. 

The opening of the new centre means the Town Hall car park testing site for people with symptoms of the virus has closed.

The walk-through testing site in King George V playing fields in Chaffinch Lane, Watford, is still open.

Read more - Covid testing site for people with symptoms of virus closes for good