New rapid COVID-19 test sites in Lincoln and Boston hope to test more than 50,000 asymptomatic people in the coming weeks.
However, county health chiefs are scrambling to get the NHS to reveal local vaccination figures, criticizing an “absurd” refusal to release the data.
More than 2.4 million people in the country have received their first dose of vaccination to date, according to the latest government data.
However, health officials leading the response to COVID-19 in Lincolnshire still do not have local data and are still unable to confirm where the next vaccination centers will be.
Professor Derek Ward said the situation was similar to last year when the Department of Health and Welfare refused for a long time to give out test numbers, leaving local authorities to search for information.
He said he had asked and asked and asked, adding that it was not a criticism of local NHS bosses, who he said “would like to share the data”.
“It’s just that they were told they weren’t licensed by NHS England nationally… [the] diktat is that they are not allowed to share data, including with the director of public health, which makes no sense. This is absolutely insane.
“We pushed back very, very strongly as directors of public health and had a lot of conversations over the weekend so hopefully the position will change.
Professor Ward has been backed by Lincolnshire advisers desperate to know when their areas will receive vaccination centers, including Lord Gary Porter, head of the South Holland District Council.
Elsewhere, new rapid test centers in Lincoln and Boston could test more than 50,000 people.
Professor Ward said the current LNER stadium site had a capacity of around 7,000 people over the next two weeks, with another 7,000 completed after it moved to Monks Road.
The location of two other sites in Boston is still not confirmed, but it is hoped that their capacity will accommodate more than 32,000 people of working age.
The first day of rapid testing Monday in Lincoln saw 60 people walk through the gates, with one asymptomatic COVID-positive patient identified and isolated.
Professor Ward said he hopes a few dozen more will come to light over the next six weeks, helping to prevent the spread of the virus.
He said testing sites were ‘another tool’ and that if anyone showed symptoms they should isolate and take a COVID-19 test through normal channels such as the Lincolnshire Showground, the testing site of the Lincoln University or one of the others at Grantham, Gainsborough and Boston.
“If you get a positive result then that’s a red card you need to make sure you self-isolate – we’ll give you a free test just to be sure.”
“But if you get a negative doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have it because they’re not perfect, but at least it gives you a clue – you have to play by the rules anyway. ”