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One year on from the first COVID-19 vaccine in Sefton

Marilyn Cull - patientThis month the NHS in Sefton is celebrating the one year anniversary of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.

Launched nationally

The NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme launched nationally in hospital hubs on 8 December, with the vaccine starting to be offered locally in Sefton from Tuesday 15 December 2020. The very first vaccination in Sefton was given to 85-year-old Southport resident, Marilyn Cull, at Southport Centre for Health and Wellbeing.

One year on from the programme launch, and over 486,000 doses of the vaccines have now been given across Sefton, starting with residents aged 80 and over as the first group to be eligible, right through to the 12–15-year old pupils currently being vaccinated in primary schools across the Borough.

Tireless efforts

Fiona Taylor, chief officer of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Thanks to the tireless efforts of our vaccine programme teams, volunteers, GP practices and community pharmacies we have managed to get 207,000 people in Sefton vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines.”

“We are so proud of everyone who has contributed to the organisation and delivery of the vaccine programme in Sefton. We have teams that have worked long hours, volunteers from the local community giving up their time to support us, and many NHS staff who have come out of retirement to help us fight against the coronavirus and protect our communities.”

“We have achieved so much but the hard work is not yet over. Our vaccination teams are still delivering first and second doses of the vaccines to those who have not yet taken up the offer, as well as delivering third primary doses to those most at risk, and booster jabs to give added protection as people become eligible for them.”

Vaccination centres

National vaccination centres were set up in hospitals and other sites all over the UK to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, with the first vaccination given on 8 December 2020 to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan in Coventry.

Local vaccination centres in Sefton were set up to help boost the roll-out of the vaccines in the borough. They were first run by groups of GP practices known as primary care networks, working together with NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, with vital support from a team of volunteers.

As the programme has developed the majority of Sefton’s local vaccination centres are now run by local pharmacies. Over the course of the year, vaccination sites have been in a variety of locations such as GP practices, town halls, community centres, pharmacies and more to help make the vaccines available to all communities in Sefton.

Needles

Dave Wilson, 67, from Maghull said: “My wife and I went to get our booster jab at Netherton Health Centre, and it was brilliant. From the minute we walked in, the staff were great and made us feel so welcome.”

“I am afraid of needles, but the staff make you feel like family and take away your fears. We would happily go back again. Thank you to everyone on the vaccination team at Netherton Health Centre, you do a great job which is very much appreciated.”

Roving teams

As well as fixed vaccination sites, the past year has seen ‘roving’ vaccination teams launching pop-up sites in different locations, such as Hugh Baird College in Bootle and Peel Ports in Seaforth, as well as visiting care homes right across the borough. Sefton has also had several visits from the ‘vaccination bus’ – a four wheeled mobile vaccine clinic that has travelled all over Merseyside during the course of the vaccination programme.

Visit YouTube to watch a video from NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, looking back over the past year of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Sefton, and meet some of the vaccination staff and volunteers. 

The NHS is encouraging anyone who is eligible but has not yet had their first or second dose, or booster jab, to come forward and book an appointment, by calling 119 or visiting the national booking service website: www.nhs.uk/CovidVaccine

To find out more about local vaccination sites in Sefton and how to book, visit the NHS South Sefton CCG website: www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk  or NHS Southport and Formby CCG website: www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk