The first local coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination services in Skelmersdale are up and running as part of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.
Practices in Skelmersdale are among those GP practices that have now begun rolling out vaccines this week. Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other NHS staff will work alongside GPs to vaccinate those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents, identified as priority groups for the life-saving vaccine.
Along with other countries in the UK, residents of care homes in England will also receive their first vaccine later this week after distributors finalise new, stringent processes to ensure safe delivery of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine.
Dheraj Bisarya, local GP and clinical lead for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in West Lancashire, said:
“Delivering this vaccination programme takes an immense amount of coordination between multiple organisations and hard work from our primary care colleagues and other supporting partners. We launched on Saturday and saw great attendance from willing individuals in the 80s and over cohort, all of whom recognise the importance that vaccinations play in our society.
“As we move through our first week, I would like to thank everyone involved for their incredible efforts in getting us to through the go live phase. We recognise this Christmas is an unusual time for everyone, but we will be vaccinating throughout the festive period so encourage anyone invited to attend their appointment. Importantly, as a reminder for our residents, please arrive on time and not early to help with social distancing measures, and please wait for the NHS to contact you about your vaccination”.
Jean McGhie, who was the first patient to be vaccinated in Skelmersdale on Saturday 19 December 2020, said:
“I was the first lady to be vaccinated in Skem and my husband Bill was the first man. We were treated like lord and lady. The whole experience was more than just an injection, the entire atmosphere was wonderful with a team who wanted to get on with the job. We just could not fault them, and we even got a round of applause. For anyone thinking of having the vaccination, my advice is you be sure to get it!”
Patients will receive a letter from the NHS when it is time for them to have their vaccine, and it is vitally important that when they have their date and time that they do not arrive earlier than stated on their letter. Social distancing safety measures are still vitally important, and to help ensure that vaccine sites comply with safe social distancing measures, patients must arrive on time and not before or after their stated date and time.