Covid-19 vaccine roll out for care staff and vulnerable elderly could mark turning point
A line was drawn in the battle against coronavirus this week, as the first round of vaccinations began across the region.
People aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers, were among the first to receive the jab, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.
The first appointments took place at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and James Paget University Hospital on Wednesday, with a vaccine approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency being administered.
The two hospitals are among 50 nationwide which have the required freezer facilities to store the vaccine at minus 80 degrees.
With supplies of the vaccine initially finite, care staff, at-risk NHS workers and the elderly have been prioritised, but community vaccination sites are expected to start opening later this month.
In a statement issued on behalf of the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, chairman Dr Anoop Dhesi said that vaccinating all adults will be “a marathon, not a sprint” and that the vaccination programme, which is the largest in NHS history, is being rolled out “as quickly and safely as possible”.
Oaklands Care Home in Diss confirmed this week that its staff will be the among the first in the county to receive the jab, which has to be administered in two visits.
Manager Julie Robinson said: “It’s such good news and we can’t wait. We hope to have some members of staff vaccinated by Monday and we look forward to some normality returning soon.
“We’ve had zoom calls going on to help ensure residents stay connected with their families through these difficult times, but it’s not the same as a hug, so we’re looking forward to reaching a point where that can happen again.
“It’s not been easy for our staff and they’ve done a wonderful job.”
Members of the public are being urged to continue observing all safety practices and to not contact GPs or hospitals to request a vaccination, as invitations will be sent out in the coming months.