Region marks first anniversary of life-saving Covid-19 jab

Just 12 months ago, on 8 December 2020, the UK witnessed a world first as the NHS delivered the Pfizer vaccine to grandmother Maggie Keenan in Coventry at 6.31GMT.

In total, 1,050 people in the North East and Yorkshire received their Covid-19 jab on what became known as V-day. Dr Hari Shukla and his wife Ranjan were the first couple to receive the life-saving vaccine at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle from nurse Suzanne Meadows.

Now, 12 months since vaccination teams first delivered Covid-19 jabs in Newcastle, Sheffield and other sites across the region, more than 15 million vaccine doses have been delivered in the North East and Yorkshire.

This week, the region’s health leaders paid tribute to an exceptional collective effort involving thousands of people which has seen up to 626,000 jabs delivered in a single week, at more than 500 vaccination sites.

Dr Yvette Oade, NHS Clinical Lead for the Covid-19 vaccination programme for North East and Yorkshire, thanked everyone involved, and urged people to get their booster vaccination, or first or second jabs where necessary.

“Across our region hard-working staff continue to go above and beyond to offer life-saving protection, against coronavirus, to the most vulnerable as quickly as possible,” Dr Oade said.

“This week we proudly acknowledge the commitment and dedication of teams at hospital hubs, vaccination centres, GPs teams and community pharmacies, supported by volunteers, who have administered more than 15 million Covid-19 jabs over 12 months – including 2.7 million booster vaccines.”

Dr Oade added: “The emergence of the Omicron variant is a significant concern for all, and my message to all of those eligible for the booster – which is anyone over the age of 40 years, those with health conditions, and health and care workers – is come forward for your vaccination.

“Whether it is for your first, second, third, booster or flu vaccination, we’re just over two weeks from Christmas and very much looking forward to spending time with loved ones, so do come forward to give yourself and those around you vital protection and peace of mind.”

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has updated its guidance to recommend all adults who have received two doses of the vaccine receive a booster three months on from their second dose, and guidance has been sent to the NHS on how this will be implemented.

The NHS will aim to offer everyone eligible their booster jab by the end of January, and will contact each group when it is their turn to get vaccinated, with more newly eligible groups set to be called forward to book through the National Booking Service. People can get their vaccine by booking online through the National Booking Service or by calling 119. GP practices are also inviting those who are eligible.

Nationally, more than 99 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in NHS history.

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