Sheffield hospitals prepare to start delivering Covid vaccine as they reach major milestone
Sheffield’s hospitals are preparing to deliver the first Covid-19 vaccinations tomorrow as they hit a major milestone in their fight against the pandemic.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has been chosen as one of 50 hubs in the first wave of what the Government is calling the biggest vaccination programme in the country’s history, which gets underway on Tuesday, December 8.
The first people in the city will receive their jabs during the week the trust cares for its 3,000th coronavirus patient.
People aged 80 and over, care home workers and and NHS staff who are at higher risk are first in line to be injected with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was approved for use in the UK last week.
The vaccine will continue to be administered according to priority as it is gradually rolled out to everyone, with people assured they will be invited to be vaccinated when it is their turn so there is no need to contact their GP or health trust.
Dr David Hughes, medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We were one of the first UK hospitals to care for patients with Covid-19 way back in February, and in the week we are providing care for our 3,000th patient it is fitting that we also have the privilege of giving the first Covid-19 vaccines.
"Our staff have been outstanding throughout the pandemic and we are also incredibly proud to have been at the forefront of the some of the vaccine research and look forward to now beginning our vaccination programme.”
Patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatients, and those being discharged after a hospital stay, will be among the first to be vaccinated.
Hospitals will also begin inviting over-80s in for a jab and will work with care home providers to book their staff in to vaccination clinics.
Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from coronavirus, and all those vaccinated will need a booster jab 21 days later.
GPs and other primary care staff are also being put on standby to deliver injections, with a small number of GP-led primary care networks doing so next week and more joining on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.
Vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients in sporting venues and conference centres will start running when more supplies of vaccine become available.
The vaccine is typically delivered through a simple injection in the shoulder but must be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that ‘cold chain’ before being used.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I urge everybody to play their part to suppress this virus and follow the local restrictions to protect the NHS while they carry out this crucial work.”
Around 25 million people fall within the 10 priority categories set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
The Government has said it expects ‘the majority’ of vulnerable people to be vaccinated in January or February.
Two further vaccines are still being assessed by regulators, which could boost the number of doses available.