Northampton's elderly patients speak of relief after getting first jab at vaccination centre

"I feel a lot more safer, more confident. It gives you quality of life."

Elderly patients have spoken about their relief to get the Covid-19 vaccine after nearly a year shielding from the deadly virus.

Northampton's Covid vaccination centre, in Moulton Park, opened to the public on Monday (January 25) and has been administering the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to the top four priority groups the goverment has planned to be treated first.

The top priority groups which should all receive the first dose by mid-February, according to the government's target, include the over 80s, health and social care workers, the extremely clinically vulnerable and the over 70s.

Ruby Moulden (right)

Peter O'Dowd, 80, travelled from Wellingborough today (Wednesday) to get his jab and has been isolating since March last year, when the pandemic first began

He said: "I'm relieved to get it done. Lockdown's been really bad because I play golf and I can't play it anymore. I feel much happier now, really, now it's been done. I feel a lot more safer, more confident. It gives you quality of life.

"It doesn't matter whether you are healthy or not, the virus can affect everybody. It has been a good experience, it's very professional here [at the vaccination centre].

Peter said his life won't change drastically as his wife is yet to receive the vaccine and lockdown rules are still in place, but he did say he will go out shopping 'with a lot more confidence'.

Peter O'Dowd

He said: "I'm glad I have come, it didn't hurt, and I would advise anyone to come and get theirs done."

Peter, who was supposed to be enjoying two months in Benidorm if it wasn't for the Covid restrictions, is due to get his second dose in April.

Ruby Moulden, from Raunds, also had her first dose today at the centre.

She said: "I feel good. It's a step to getting back to normal. I feel safer and have peace of mind now I have had the jab. It stops me worrying. I am so pleased to have had it."

Anna Dorothy

The 87-year old, who will also receive her second jab in April, said her visit was a 'good experience'.

Anna Dorothy, deputy of the vaccination programme, said the centre has received positive feedback from members of the public.

She said: "I think it's fair to say we have been successful getting people through the vaccination process so far. We've had really positive feedback. It's been really good, really positive. They [patients] have found the staff to be really friendly and welcoming."

The centre is staffed by clinicians, non-registered vaccinators, administrative staff and marshals who will help make a visit to the centre run as smoothly and safely as possible.

Paula Love

Anna added: "I am really proud we have brought together this massive new team of people and held them together as one team. People have worked really well together, they are forging relationships, communicating really well and working as a team.

"Over the course of the next week, the over 70s and the critically vulnerable will receive letters giving them the opportunity to book in for their vaccine. When you get your letter, book in as soon as possible. The quicker we get people vaccinated, the less people we have going into A&E.

"We are starting to see the impact in the vaccination programme. There has been a reduced number of cases which will be due to a combination of lockdown measures and of the vaccine programme.

"If you have had the vaccine please keep following the rules. We don't want people to get complacent."

Paula Love, clinical lead at the centre, said: "It is really exciting to be part of the leadership team here. It's a real privilege. We have been wanting to go for weeks and weeks and we are glad to finally get going, all the staff are really excited about it.

"Patients are glad to get the vaccine and really pleased and surprised at how quick the process is.

"The quicker we can get the majority vaccinated, the safer it will be for everybody. We're hopefully getting to the point where families will get back in touch with older relatives and be able to hug them again."