D-Day veteran and wife of 67 years from Uppingham among first to get vaccine at new community centre at Rutland County Council offices in Oakham
A D-Day veteran and his wife of more than 67 years were among the first to receive their Covid-19 vaccines at a new community centre set up in Rutland.
The new vaccination centre opened in Rutland County Council’s offices in Catmos Street, Oakham, on Tuesday, to invited patients from Empingham Medical Centre, Market Overton and Somerby Surgeries, Oakham Medical Practice and Uppingham Surgery.
First to receive the vaccination at the new Rutland centre was 87-year-old Ron Bailey, who lives with his wife, Pat, at the Lonsdale Park retirement development off Barleythorpe Road, Oakham.
“It was great!” he said. “I didn’t feel a thing and have had no side-effects.”
He had received a text message at 10.30pm inviting him to make an appointment when the new centre opened, and responded immediately.
“I’ve heard some people say they are ‘too old’ to have the jab, but they were only in their seventies. The vaccines is the way we’re going to come out of this andbe able to get on and enjoy life,” he added.
Ron said he and Pat are looking forward to being able to go on holiday abroad again.
Also among the first to receive the vaccine were Dennis and Dorothy Wright, who travelled from Uppingham for their jabs.
“It was very well organised and very quick,” said 98-year-old Dennis, who served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers during the second wave of D-Day landings in Normandy - an achievement for which he received the Legion of Honour but says it was “nothing remarkable”.
Both Dennis and Dorothy shielded during the first lockdown, only venturing out into their garden. They have been “taking things very carefully” since, with Dorothy, 85, learning to use Zoom to keep in touch with their two children, four grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren.
“We usually go out quite a bit but we’ve been very cautious not to, unless it is absolutely necessary. It’s been quite a difficult time but it’s been necessary, so you just get on with things,” said Dennis.
“Dorothy has kept me going. She’s been a wizard on the computer so we can see our family.”
The couple know the importance of the vaccine; one of their granddaughters, a physiotherapist specialising in respiratory illnesses, has been caring for Covid-19 patients on an intensive care unit in Portsmouth.
“She’s been having quite a hard time of it and working a lot of hours,” said Dennis.
“We hoped we would get the vaccine, especially at my age - I need it, so we said yes straight away. Everyone invited should do the same.”
Denise Foster, 94, from Uppingham had no hesitation in accepting the invitation.
She said: “It was very straightforward, just like the flu jab, and it’s very necessary.
“It’s very difficult being told you have to choose between seeing your family and friends. Luckily my family live not too far away but not everyone is in that same position.”
Dennis and Dorothy, and Denise, were telephoned by their surgery to invite them for their vaccinations. All three will have a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine in January.
The vaccination programme in Rutland began on Monday when care home staff were invited for vaccination, followed by the hub opening on Tuesday to patients of the four surgeries which are part of the Rutland Healthcare Primary Care Network.
Dr Hilary Fox, GP and clinical director of the network, said: “Rutland is home to a high number of older people who are vulnerable to Covid-19 and vaccination will protect patients, their families and our community.”
Thanking the GPs and other staff involved in the vaccination programme, she said there were 2,500 patients aged over 80 who would be contacted to attend the centre.
The vaccine is delivered by injection in the upper arm, in two doses given three weeks apart. Patients will be contacted when it is their turn.
Catmose Car Park in Oakham will be unavailable as a public car park from January 11. Instead it will be used exclusively by people who have an appointment to receive the vaccine.