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NHS thanks staff on anniversary of vaccine programme

The NHS is remembering the “euphoric moment” it began the COVID-19 vaccination programme and has thanked staff and volunteers for helping to deliver more than a million vaccines to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in a year.
Iain Davidson, lead for the hospital hub and large-scale vaccination centres and based at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, has praised vaccination teams across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, volunteers and those who have stepped forward to protect themselves by having the jab.

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has delivered more than a million doses since December 2020, the start of the biggest immunisation programme in history.

Iain recalled the opening of the vaccination centre at the hospital hub as a “euphoric moment”.

He said: “So much time had been spent by getting everybody to that point, lots of sleepless nights.

“We had all been living on adrenalin for about a week and to actually open the doors for that very first clinic to the lovely patients that turned up and to watch the nurses and their sheer professionalism was just a wonderful sight to see. That day we vaccinated 200 people and it was incredible. We had a vaccine and we had hope.”

Iain said the NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is “enormously proud of the staff, volunteers and everyone involved in the roll-out of the vaccine programme.

“We can’t thank them enough for their tireless efforts in getting us all to such a huge number within a year.

“I remember those first doses being administered at the hospital hub in Truro back in early December last year. I couldn’t have imagined we’d have done more than a million just 12 months later.”

People are encouraged to continue to support the vaccine programme. To take up the offer of having their first or second vaccinations if they have been invited but have not yet done so and, if eligible, book up for their booster jab through the national booking service or call 119.

Currently, you can pre-book your COVID-19 booster online if it’s been 5 months (152 days) since you had your second dose and you are:

  • aged 40 and over
  • aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts you at increased risk from COVID-19
  • frontline health and social care workers

Although you can pre-book a booster dose from 5 months after your second dose, the appointment dates you’ll be offered will be from 6 months (182 days) after your second dose.

Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) updated its guidance to recommend all adults who have received 2 doses of the vaccine receive a booster 3 months on from their second dose, following the emergence of the Omicron variant.

The new JCVI advice means those aged 18 to 39 will also be eligible for a booster when the NHS calls them forward.

The national booking service is currently being updated to reflect the minimum 3-month (91 days) interval from the second dose to booster vaccination as recently advised by JCVI. The intention is to go live as soon as possible.

Just as before, when the vaccine programme launched last year, each age group will be invited to come forward by the NHS. The older and more clinically vulnerable will be called first.

Iain added: “Getting vaccinated, along with taking extra precautions such as wearing a face covering in busy spaces, regular hand washing, and regular testing, are ways that we protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19. We have lots more vaccine we need to give out. But it’s important we recognise and pay tribute to the fantastic work of all those who’ve helped get us to this stage.”

Iain added: “It’s not just the incredible people helping with the vaccine programme who we need to thank. We also need to applaud the people of Cornwall who’ve come forward in their droves to play their part. The majority across our county have shown such a collective spirit in the past year.”

Families of healthy 12 to 15 year olds who have not yet had a first dose of the vaccine are also encouraged to book them in through the national booking service online or call 119.

Added on 7 December 2021, in News - COVID vaccine

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