Dorset County Hospital to start world-first Covid vaccination programme

As one of the 50 chosen hospital hubs in England, Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester will start to roll out the Pfzifer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination to Dorset residents.

From Tuesday 8th December 2020, patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the vaccine.

Vaccine arriving at Croydon University Hospital
PA/MEDIA

The vaccine arriving at Croydon University Hospital

“Rolling-out the vaccine”

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said:

“All parts of the UK now have doses of the coronavirus vaccine. I want to thank the whole team involved in rolling-out the vaccine across the whole UK – great progress.”

Hospitals, including Dorset County Hospital, will begin inviting over 80s in for a jab and work with care home providers to book their staff into vaccination clinics.

Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at the highest risk of serious illness from Covid.

All those vaccinated will need a booster jab 21 days later. Those receiving the first jab will receive a NHS card with a date to return to receive the second injection. Full immunity starts seven days after the second dose.

GPs on standby

Doctors’ surgeries will also start to deliver the vaccine from next week, Monday 14th December 2020, with more practices, in more parts of the country joining in on a phased basis in the run up to Christmas.

Hospital freezer to store the Covid vaccine
PA/MEDIA

Stored in specialist freezers at around -70C

The Pfizer vaccine is being stored in specialist freezers at around -70C. Each container has to be carefully inspected to ensure the vaccine vials have reached the UK from Belgium in perfect condition.

Each box contains five packs of 975 doses and they are then being split into smaller packs for distribution.

NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens said:

“Coronavirus is the greatest health challenge in NHS history, taking loved ones from us and disrupting every part of our lives.

“Hospitals have now cared for more than 190,000 seriously ill Covid-19 patients and have seen beds fill up again in recent weeks.

“The deployment of this vaccine marks a decisive turning point in the battle with the pandemic. NHS vaccination programmes which have successfully helped overcome tuberculosis, polio, and smallpox, now turn their focus to coronavirus.

“NHS staff are proud to be leading the way as the first health service in the world to begin vaccination with this Covid jab.”

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