A married couple were among the first NHS staff to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at Scunthorpe General Hospital this morning.
Deputy outpatients manager, Vicky Kocheril-Johny and medical laboratory assistant, James Duthie have both worked at Scunthorpe hospital for 16 years.
Vicky said: “I am so humbled to be one of the first at the Trust to receive the vaccine. I feel privileged and hope many others can have theirs as soon as possible. The pandemic made 2020 difficult for so many, but I am hopeful the approved vaccines will bring our community and the country some normality by Spring time.”
James added: “It is incredible to have my vaccine and be part of this ground-breaking achievement. I work in one of the laboratories and part of my role includes testing COVID-19 samples so I am extremely pleased to receive my vaccine.
“The Trust has done so much to protect its staff, the safety and compassion from the organisation has been brilliant.”
The JCVI recommend that priority is given to frontline staff “at high risk of acquiring infection, at high individual risk of developing serious disease, or at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment”. The Trust which runs hospitals in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole as well as community services has been undertaking staff risk assessments throughout the pandemic to identify these individuals.
Alongside Vicky and James, the first staff from across the Trust to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine included a maintenance team leader, health care assistant safeguarding nurse and a consultant.
Peter Reading, chief executive at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Across the country NHS staff are doing an incredible job to deliver what it is the largest vaccination programme in our history, at the same time as continuing to be there for everyone who needs care. We are proud to be playing our part in the national effort to protect people from this virus, however, we cannot let our guard down now and even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow the guidance around social distancing and hand hygiene.
“Our vaccination team has put a huge amount of effort into making this possible for our staff. So many people have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare for today; from training staff to administer the vaccine, to co-ordinating the delivery, storage and preparation of the vaccines, setting up the venue and creating an appointment system. I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all of those involved.”
The NHS is well-used to delivering millions of vaccines a year and is moving quickly to roll out this vaccine to those who need it, but it’s important that we remember this will be a marathon, not a sprint. Offering vaccines to the tens of millions of people in the priority groups identified by the JCVI is likely to be done by late Spring.
The public have an important part to play to help the vaccination programme:
- please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
- when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;
- and please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.
Richard Painter, safeguarding nurse, was also one of those to receive his vaccination this morning. He said: “I feel quite emotional about having the vaccine, I had a kidney transplant five years ago and the medication I take dampens my immune system. Today is massive for me as COVID-19 has the potential to kill me or make me seriously ill. I feel very lucky to have it so soon.”
Staff at the Trust, much like members of the public, are being invited for their vaccine by appointment. All staff and members of the public are reminded to continue following national guidance.