Sheffield GP issues exciting update about Covid vaccinations as thousands receive first jabs
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Dr Ollie Hart has praised staff and volunteers for their response after vaccinations got under way this week at the Matthews Practice in the Heeley area, which he said was on course to give 2,400 people aged over 75 their first dose by the end of Saturday.
After a ‘worrying’ delay in the vaccine being delivered to Sheffield’s GP surgeries, which had hoped to begin the rollout before Christmas, he said things were looking much more promising.
Dr Hart is the director of the Heeley-Plus Primary Care Network, which coordinates care across eight practices looking after some 50,000 people, and has chosen to deliver vaccines solely at the Matthews Practice for now to patients from across the area.
It is one of 15 such networks across the city, most of which he said were making similar progress with vaccinations, meaning that by Saturday around 36,000 people in Sheffield should have had their first dose of the vaccine.
That figure doesn’t include those vaccinated by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, which was one of the first trusts in the country to begin administering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine before Christmas.
Dr Hart said: “It’s going really well. We’ve had eight people vaccinating all at the same time, with some fantastic help from volunteers with everything from meeting and greeting patients to managing the car park.”
Heeley Development Trust is coordinating the volunteer response there, with other local organisations stepping in elsewhere, and Voluntary Action Sheffield helping people around the city play their part.
At the Matthews Practice, a one-way system has been set up and there is a marquee in the car park where people can wait safely and comfortably after getting the jab.
Speaking this afternoon, Thursday, January 7, Dr Hart said: “We’re already down to priority group two, which is the over-80s, and some networks are starting on over-75s, who are group three.
"We were ready to go before Christmas, so the delay worried us a bit, but we’re starting to see the vaccines coming into Sheffield quite rapidly now and we’re relieved to be getting going.
"For a lot of people being vaccinated, it’s the first time they’ve been out of the house in more than eight months, so this is hope. This could be the end in sight, which fills us all with a lot of excitement.”
Dr Hart added that the network had received some doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which was the second vaccine to be approved for use in the UK, but he said this was being used to vaccinate people in care homes as it was easier to transport and store.
Boris Johnson today said that almost 1.5 million people across the UK had now received the first of their two doses of vaccine and within two to three weeks would have a ‘very considerable degree of immunity’.
The Prime Minister added that the Government intended to give everyone in care homes a jab by the end of January and to have vaccinated the four most vulnerable groups – accounting for 88 per cent of Covid deaths in the UK – by mid-February.