Over 25,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given to some of Rotherham’s most vulnerable residents and frontline health and care staff just five weeks after the first resident in the borough received the life-saving jab.
Health organisations across Rotherham are on track to meet the target of delivering the first dose of vaccine to around 56,000 people in the first four high priority groups by mid-February.
The NHS and its partners across Rotherham have been working hard, since December, to deliver the vaccines in a safe and effective way at five GP-led vaccination service sites in Rotherham and via a vaccination hub for staff based at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (TRFT). GP practices have now vaccinated a large proportion of the borough’s over 80 years of age population, with those yet to receive the jab in the age group being booked in over the next couple of weeks.
Ian Atkinson, Executive Place Director at NHS Rotherham CCG and lead for the Covid-19 vaccination programme across Rotherham said, “A huge thanks to all the NHS staff and volunteers working long hours, going above and beyond, to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible. I’m extremely proud, but not surprised that everyone has come together to deliver our biggest ever vaccination programme. Our Primary Care and hospital colleagues have made excellent progress over the last five weeks, but we know there is still a long way to go to make sure we protect our most vulnerable residents against this awful virus.
“We are busy contacting eligible patients to make appointments for their first dose, which will take several weeks to complete. Patients are urged not to contact the local NHS to ask about the vaccine, they will be contacted, on the phone number registered with the GP practice, when it is their turn, for information on the vaccine programme patients can access our dedicated webpage www.rotherhamccg.nhs.uk/covidvaccine.
"I would urge people not to turn up at a vaccination centre unless you have an appointment. If you have an appointment, please ensure you arrive on time. If you arrive early, please wait in your car until it is your appointment time to avoid queues forming.”
Dr Richard Cullen, Local GP and chair of NHS Rotherham CCG, commented: “We've made a fantastic start in our bid to protect our patients from COVID-19. I’ve seen for myself how hard our staff and volunteers at the vaccination sites and in care homes, I can’t thank them enough. I’ve had my vaccination at one of the five sites in Rotherham and would strongly encourage everyone to take up the offer of vaccination when it is made available to you.
“Please remember, you still need to follow all the lockdown rules and continue to maintain social distancing, wear a face covering and wash your hands thoroughly and frequently even after you’ve been vaccinated. It’s so important that we all do our bit to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the NHS during these difficult times for us all.
Groups of GP practices, known as Primary Care Networks (PCNs), have been working tirelessly over the past couple of weeks to vaccinate the majority of care home residents. Alongside this, community district nursing teams from TRFT are visiting housebound patients over the coming weeks to ensure they receive their first dose.
Also, a substantial number of frontline health and social care staff at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) and within general practice have also received the first dose jab, with the providers creating their own vaccination hubs to deliver the vaccine.