Patient-facing staff at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and care home workers have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as the programme launched at East Surrey Hospital.
The first vaccines were given on Monday 4 January 2020, with 975 doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine planned to be given to health and care staff this week.
SASH staff have been trained to deliver the vaccine, with some 200 jabs provided on the first day.
Sarah Hawksley, speciality doctor in anaesthetics who has worked for SASH for 16 years, was one of the first people to receive the jab at East Surrey Hospital. She said: “I couldn’t wait to be vaccinated. I’m keen to do whatever we can do to help prevent the spread of the virus. I feel much more confident in caring for my patients now that I’ve been vaccinated.”
Eva O’Connell, occupational therapist, also received the vaccine on Monday. Eva said: “I’m really glad we’re getting the vaccine. I will definitely feel safer now, it’s great news.”
Margaret Seppings, occupational therapist assistant said: “I am honoured to have the vaccine. It is making me less worried about work and caring for patients. It all ties in with patient care. This is history! I have a memory box at home and I’m leaving lots of memories for my grandchildren. Receiving the Pfizer vaccine will make history.”
Emma Wallis, stroke dietitian said: “I’m very excited and what a great thing to be a part of. The vaccine gives extra reassurance, especially for patient-facing staff.”
Michael Wilson CBE, chief executive at SASH, said: “Our staff have shown such extraordinary dedication and resilience during this pandemic so I am delighted that we are starting this new year by providing this jab. It is the largest vaccination programme the NHS has seen so it will take time, but today represents real hope for a bright future. I would like to thank our colleagues in pharmacy, occupational health, performance, our peer vaccinators and everyone involved in this enormous effort to launch the programme here at SASH.”
This roll out to health and care staff complements the community vaccination centres already available for members of the public locally. The programme will expand over the coming weeks and members of the public will be contacted by their GP surgery when it’s their turn to receive the vaccine. For more information see www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine