Elderly care homes across Tees Valley have received their first life-saving COVID-19 vaccinations.
Working together GP practices across the region have provided the vaccine to residents and staff as part of the national roll-out, which is prioritising those most at risk from the virus.
All older persons care home residents have now been offered the vaccine – with the exception of those residents who are Covid-19 positive, hospital in-patients not in the homes, or homes where there may be a Covid-19 outbreak.
Karen Hawkins, NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Director of Commissioning Strategy and Delivery Primary Care, said: “Our teams of GPs, nurses, pharmacists, partners and volunteers have been working non-stop to help deliver the vaccine to our elderly care homes and should all be congratulated on their hard work and dedication so far.
“Every effort is being made to protect the most vulnerable and at risk in our community, we are making good progress, but there is still a lot of hard work to be done.”
“We know many people are very keen to receive their vaccine and may be concerned if they are in one of the priority cohorts which have not been invited for a vaccination yet. We would like to reassure them that they will be contacted over the next few weeks and ask them not to call their GP surgery or community pharmacy to ask about vaccinations.”
COVID-19 vaccinations, for priority groups, are available at 13 PCN vaccination hubs across Tees Valley.
People aged 75 and over may also receive a letter from the NHS national booking system inviting them to make an appointment at the nearest mass vaccination centre in Newcastle. If it is not convenient to book an appointment at the vaccination centre people can choose to wait for an invitation from their local GP practice to attend one of the designated sites.
Housebound patients who are unable to leave their home to travel to where they are offered an appointment, or who cannot arrange for someone to help them, will be contacted by their local GP services to arrange a vaccination in the home.
To support the vaccination roll out two community pharmacy sites in Tees Valley are also scheduled to start vaccinating at the end of January, access to these appointments will be by letter with a link to the NHS national booking system.
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “This is excellent news for Middlesbrough. On behalf of the town I’d like to thank NHS and care home staff who have worked night and day on the rollout.
“The NHS has made a great start on the vaccine programme in our area. I sincerely hope they are able to carry on with the same momentum. Every jab in an arm is progress and that’s why it’s so important everyone continues to follow the rules to keep the virus at bay.”
Cllr Dorothy Davison, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, added: “It’s really encouraging that some of the most vulnerable people in our town and the staff that care for them have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Everyone working in the care sector has worked flat out throughout the pandemic and this gives them some welcome peace of mind.”
People are reminded to continue to wear a mask, wash hands and adhere to social distancing after having the vaccine to help reduce the risk of passing on the virus.