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Northampton General Hospital joins turning point in battle against Covid-19 with first vaccinations

Vaccination station

Northampton General Hospital today (Tuesday December 8, 2020) became one of the first hospitals in the world to start giving out the Covid-19 vaccine.

Described by NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens as a “decisive turning point” in the battle against the pandemic, teams began the biggest and most highly anticipated immunisation campaign in history.

The first 50 hubs will be joined by other centres as the programme ramps up.

People aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be prioritised, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.

The vaccination team at NGH will initially vaccinate the over-80s, care home workers and healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from Covid-19. All those vaccinated will need a booster dose 21 days later.

The first Northampton General Hospital employee to receive the vaccine was Mr Philip Ameerally, Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon. He said: “I feel very privileged as a frontline member of staff it’s important I get vaccinated to protect my colleagues, and our patients. I’m glad it came through so quickly and pleased to have had it”.

Chris Pallot, Countywide Director for the Covid vaccination programme, explained the roll out of the programme at Northampton General: “We are delighted that the vaccine is launching today in Northampton General and our first staff members have been vaccinated this morning. We are proud to be one of the first vaccination sites in the country. It is great news for Team NGH, for Northamptonshire, for the NHS, but most importantly for our patients and their families.

“We look forward to rolling out the vaccine to other sites around the county so we can start vaccinating more members of the public and NHS staff in the coming months as our coverage expands.

“It is the most effective way to protect ourselves from the virus and, hopefully, start our return to normal life again.”

Members of the public will be contacted to be given an appointment to receive their vaccines.

Since the Pfizer vaccine got the green light from regulators last week, health service staff have been working around the clock to manage the huge scale logistical challenge of deploying it.

Another of the first NHS staff to receive the vaccine was Northampton General Hospital’s Head of Pathology Gus Lusack. He said: “To be one of the first people to have the vaccine is exciting. It’s something we’ve been waiting on for a long time.

“The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency website is very clear that the vaccine is safe and I would say to people please take it. Don’t be afraid. It is the best thing you could do to get Covid under control,”.

GPs and other primary care staff have also been put on standby to start delivering the vaccine. A number of GP-led primary care networks will begin doing so next week with more practices in more parts of the country joining in on a phased basis during December.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “Coronavirus is the greatest health challenge in NHS history, taking loved ones from us and disrupting every part of our lives.

“Hospitals have now cared for more than 190,000 seriously ill Covid-19 patients and have seen beds fill up again in recent weeks.

“The deployment of this vaccine marks a decisive turning point in the battle with the pandemic. NHS vaccination programmes which have successfully helped overcome tuberculosis, polio, and smallpox, now turn their focus to coronavirus.

“NHS staff are proud to be leading the way as the first health service in the world to begin vaccination with this Covid jab.”

Posted on Tuesday 8th December 2020
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