A county hospital has been added to the Covid-19 vaccination outlets already up and running across Northamptonshire.
Kettering General Hospital (KGH) started vaccinating the over-80s, care home workers and high-risk NHS staff to combat Covid-19 today (Wednesday December 30, 2020).
A team of KGH staff and volunteers from East Midlands Ambulance Service staff will work together to start to deliver the first batch of vaccinations from the hospital’s main Rothwell Road site.
Retired lorry driver and grandfather Bryan Walton, 80, from Wilbarston, was one of the first local people to receive his vaccination from KGH.
He said: “Having the vaccination definitely makes me feel safer. My wife and I have been very careful to stay safe – and fortunately we live in a village which makes that a bit easier.
“Being vaccinated will also help people to start to see their families again – I have six grandchildren so I am looking forward to that.”
Those receiving the vaccine will be contacted directly and given an appointment to receive their vaccine at the hospital site.
These will include over-80s KGH outpatients, local care home workers and KGH staff starting with those most clinically vulnerable.
Chris Pallot, countywide director for the Covid vaccination programme, said: “We are delighted that Kettering has become another major vaccination hospital hub for Northamptonshire. This is a major step in the fight against Covid.
“The vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency after extensive scrutiny and we know that getting vaccinated is the most effective way to protect ourselves from the virus and, hopefully, start our return to normal life.”
KGH chief executive Eileen Doyle said: “I am incredibly proud of the team here at Kettering General Hospital who have worked at some speed in challenging circumstances to create new systems and processes that will be vaccinating thousands of people in such a short time.
“It is great news for Northamptonshire that KGH is now able to become a vaccination hub adding to the locations which are already delivering the vaccine.”
KGH’s medical director, Prof Andrew Chilton, said: “Cases of Covid-19 in Northamptonshire continue to rise, as they are doing in many parts of the country, and that means it is vital will all stick to the rules to limit its spread.
“At KGH we have about 90 of our beds currently occupied with Covid-19 patients and clearly that is a concern – especially when it is combined with the high patient numbers we always have during the winter.
“We all need to remain vigilant and stick to the rules – wash your hands, wear a mask, maintain social distancing.
“In addition I would now say get your Covid-19 vaccination as soon as you are contacted by your hospital or local GP surgery. Please don’t contact the NHS we will contact you. ”
“By having the vaccination we are protecting the most vulnerable people in our society first and then moving towards the goal of developing immunity across our local communities.”
Since the Pfizer vaccine got the green light from regulators earlier this month, health service staff have been working around the clock to manage the huge logistical challenges of deploying it as swiftly as possible. The vaccine is delivered in two doses, 21 days apart.
KGH joins Northampton General Hospital and a growing number of community-based sites, including GP surgeries, delivering the vaccine across the county.
The vaccine is delivered to the NHS in batches and once defrosted and prepared needs to be delivered within four days. KGH will continue to roll out its vaccination programme over the coming weeks and months.
National NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has described Coronavirus as the greatest health challenge in NHS history and said deploying the vaccine was a turning point in the battle with the pandemic.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: “It is extremely important and encouraging that more hospitals in every region of England are joining the mass mobilisation of the NHS to get people vaccinated.
“The vaccination programme is a turning point for the country and, rightly, NHS staff are prioritising those most at risk of the virus, with the programme expanding over the coming months, so when the time comes for you to get your jab, the NHS will let you know and I strongly encourage you to accept the invitation.”
In line with expert advice, the phased vaccination programme will see patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, prioritised to receive the vaccination.