Hundreds of people have today become the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine at two North Staffordshire GP surgeries.
Staffordshire’s first community vaccination sessions took place at Smallthorne Health Centre and Ryecroft Medical Centre, in Newcastle, from this morning, following the initial deployment of the jab at the Royal Stoke last week.
A total of 975 people will be vaccinated at each site over the next few days, with the programme now being extended to other venues around Staffordshire. Everyone being vaccinated this week will need to return for their vital second jab in early January.
The vaccine is initially being offered to care home residents, those over 80, and frontline care workers.
Each primary care network (PCN) in the county will invite people to attend a vaccination centre, which may not be their local GP practice.
Harold Lancett was among the first of 408 patients to receive the vaccine at Smallthorne Health Centre, the centre for the north of Stoke-on-Trent, earlier today.
The 93-year-old, from Norton, said: “It’s great that there’s a vaccine. I’ve been bored to tears over the last nine months. I’ve been mostly at home, just going out for a walk in the evening.”
Barbara Loftus was invited to get vaccinated after being infected with Covid-19 last month.
The 80-year-old, from Hanley Forest Park, said: “I’m really glad I’m getting the vaccine as I’ve just had Covid – I don’t want to get it again. I have underlying health conditions as well, I’ve got severe asthma. I was finding it really hard to breathe.
“When I was diagnosed I was told that the hospital was jam packed, but that was ok because I didn’t want to go to hospital, so I just stayed at home. My daughter helped me.
“It’s fantastic that we’ve got a vaccine now. I’m just looking forward to engaging with my family again. I’ve only seen my grandchildren a few times this year.”
Dr Anwar Tufail, clinical director of Whitfield Primary Care Network, has welcomed the arrival of the vaccine in the area.
He said: “It’s great for our patients that our primary care network is one of the first in Staffordshire to get the vaccine, especially considering how badly hit Stoke-on-Trent has been compared to other parts of the country.
“It’s been a real team effort to get all this organised. The four practices in our primary care network have worked together closely, and it’s involved all our doctors and nurses.
“If you are over the age of 80 and you haven’t been invited to come in yet, don’t worry. You just need to wait and we will be in touch.”