West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust staff have begun receiving a first batch of Covid-19 vaccinations. In total nearly 1,000 vaccines are being made available at the start of a rolling vaccination programme that is taking place at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.
A floor of an office block has been converted into a staff vaccination hub, and the Trust is expecting more vaccines to be delivered in the coming weeks. The Trust is prioritising high-risk and patient-facing staff in the first instance.
Dr Stephen Dunn, Chief Executive of the Trust, said: “This is a really important milestone in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus and in keeping our workforce healthy as we deal with increasing cases of Covid-19 here at the hospital. Rollout of the vaccine will help guard staff against the virus, meaning we can build up our resistance to it and in turn help protect family, friends and patients we are caring for.
“We are in the early stages of our staff vaccination programme and anticipate it will take a number of weeks to complete but this is a really positive start. Whilst this is an exciting step forward, we must all – both staff, including those who are vaccinated, and our local community – continue to practise social distancing, wear a face mask, wash hands carefully and frequently, and follow the current guidance.”
Lead consultant for stroke medicine Dr Abul Azim was one of the first members of staff to receive the vaccine yesterday. He said: “I am thrilled to have received the vaccine today and celebrate that our staff are being vaccinated. Staff have obviously felt some anxiety about the disease and being vaccinated is one of the ways we can beat this. Today is a brilliant day. We are proud to provide high quality, safe care and this will ensure we feel more secure as we look after our patients.”
NHS staff are doing an incredible job to deliver what is the largest vaccination programme in its history, at the same time as continuing to be there for patients requiring the highest levels of care.
The public have an important part to play to help them do this:
- please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you
- when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments
- please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.