The rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 has started at Dorset County Hospital – one of the first hospitals in the world to do so.
NHS staff at the hospital in Dorchester worked through the weekend to prepare for the launch of the programme this week.
Under a phased roll-out at Dorset County Hospital, people aged 80 and over as well as care home workers are among the first to receive the vaccine, along with NHS workers.
Anne, pictured above was one of the first to be innoculated. She works in a care home and said:
“We’ve got to protect everybody. If you don’t vaccinate people it’s not going to go away.”
Residents are being asked not to contact the hospital or their GP about getting the jab, as those who’ve been identified as a priority will be contacted by the NHS.
“The biggest vaccination programme in NHS history”
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said that it knows people are very keen to find out about the developing COVID-19 vaccination programme in Dorset and it will share more updates as information becomes available.
Some GP surgeries are expected to start COVID-19 vaccinations from Monday 14th December 2020. The rollout is expected to continue until spring 2021.
Clinical lead for the Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme is Dr Karen Kirkham. She said:
“The Dorset health and care system has been working closely together on plans for some time and that sets us up really well to deliver the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history to the people of Dorset.
“This is a huge task and all partners in Dorset will play an important part in making this happen.”
The team delivering the COVID-19 vaccine at Dorset County Hospital
“Our staff have worked incredibly hard”
Dorset County Hospital’s chief executive, Patricia Miller praised the team at the hospital delivering the vaccine programme:
“Our staff have worked incredibly hard and quickly to bring together everything necessary behind the scenes to safely roll-out the vaccination programme at Dorset County Hospital and we are delighted to be able to offer the vaccination locally.”
While the Pfizer vaccine is new, immunisation programmes to protect against other diseases are regularly delivered in Dorset.
Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, Dawn Dawson said:
“We’re really experienced in providing vaccination services including flu and school immunisations. We’re working hard to make sure we can deliver immunisations safely and efficiently and we’re so proud of our staff for continuing to support and care for our local communities, including setting up brand new services for the vaccination programme.”
Director of Public Health Dorset, Sam Crowe added:
“After a difficult year for everyone, we know that news of a COVID-19 vaccine provides some hope that we may be able to return to a more normal way of life at some point next year.
“While this is good news, it’s important we don’t lose sight of the things we all need to do now to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Self-isolation, regular handwashing, wearing a face covering and limiting social contact all remain critical to protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.”