Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, health and care staff have been working under tremendous pressure to continue to provide care and keep services open. We are all human, and we sometimes struggle with our emotions and feelings of burn-out.
So when, on 9th December, we were able to offer the coronavirus vaccine to the first person in Humber, Coast and Vale area I couldn’t help feeling moved and privileged to be part of the vaccine roll-out programme in our region.
It was a slither of positivity and hope amid a hectic and challenging period for the NHS.
Sheila Page, 84, received her first dose of vaccine in our first Hospital Hub run by Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. It was just a quick injection, but getting to the point when we were ready to start vaccinating was preceded by weeks of tireless planning from all partners.
Soon after that, mid-December, family doctors and nurses started community vaccinations for people aged 80 and over, care home residents and health and care staff.
We are proud to be playing our part in the national effort to protect people from coronavirus. But it is important to say that while we are moving quickly, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Our area serves a population of 1.7 million people – it will take some time to vaccinate everyone.
We are working as quickly as possible with all NHS organisations in Humber, Coast and Vale to expand the programme and deliver it to more people over the coming weeks, and months. There will be more local vaccination services, provided by GPs, pharmacists and practice nurses coming live throughout January.
Many of us are excited at the prospect of getting back to normal. We know many people will be eager to get protected, but please do not contact your GP to get an appointment.
When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation to come forward. This may be via the phone, or through a letter either from your GP or the national booking system.
Even after you have received your vaccine, we will need you to continue to follow the public health guidance around social distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces.
In the meantime, I urge everybody to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus and follow the local restrictions to protect each other, and the NHS services.
I know we still have a long way to go. Nevertheless, I wanted to thank the health and care staff across Humber, Coast and Vale who are doing an incredible job to roll-out the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken.