10,000 Covid-19 vaccination is given in Rutland
The 10,000th person in Rutland was given their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday (February 23).
The milestone was marked by staff and volunteers at the vaccination centre in Catmos Street, Oakham, as Andrew Barker, 65, received the Pfizer jab.
The momentous moment arrived exactly two months after the first coronavirus vaccination was given in Rutland, on Christmas Eve to 87-year-old Ron Bailey from Oakham.
Dr Hilary Fox, clinical director of the Rutland Health Primary Care Network, said getting to the point of vaccinating 10,000 patients - a quarter of the county’s population - has taken “an awful lot of effort by a lot of people” and thanked all those involved.
“As well as people from the NHS clinical commissioning group, the GP practice staff and staff at Rutland County Council, we have had incredible support from volunteers,” she said.
“When we put out the call for people to help, the response in Rutland was tremendous and those coming forward have taken on roles that include booking in patients for their appointments, helping with car parking and guiding people when they arrive, and some who have medical training have become volunteer vaccinators.
“People have acted as marshals in the coldest of weather and snow, and one lovely lady has been making cakes for everyone whenever the vaccination sessions take place.
“It feels like a real community effort.”
Dr Fox said patient groups and Healthwatch Rutland have been involved in gathering feedback from those who have received vaccinations, which has helped them to refine the process and improve the experience for others.
Community first responders have also supported the effort by acting as ‘observers’, keeping an eye on those who have been vaccinated to ensure they have no adverse reactions.
“The vast majority of the feedback we have had has been positive,” said Dr Fox, who has two decades’ experience as a GP.
“The atmosphere in the centre is always very upbeat - people are really relieved to have their first dose and get some degree of protection against Covid-19.
“We begin to give second doses from Monday, March 8, and this will mean patients receiving their second vaccination 10 to 11 weeks after their first.
“We are restricted only by the amount of vaccine that NHS England supplies to us, and have the capacity, in terms of staff and volunteers, to carry out more vaccinations.”
Dr Fox said they had administered both Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from the centre based at the Rutland County Council offices.
Rutland was one of the first areas to vaccinate care home residents, and people had spent the past couple of weeks visiting housebound patients throughout the county to ensure they too could receive their first doses.
MP Alicia Kearns praised the effort after it was revealed that Rutland and Leicestershire have the highest vaccine take-up of any area in England, with 99.8 per cent of the over 70s taking up the opportunity.