Today (Tuesday, June 8) marks six months since the start of the largest vaccination campaign in NHS history.
Since December 8, when the first Covid-19 vaccines were given to patients within Frimley Health and Care, at Wexham Park Hospital, in Slough, a total of 712,193 doses of vaccine have been administered within the system.
Within days of those first jabs, a network of local vaccination services began to launch, expanding across the area. These vaccination services, run by groups of GP practices working together (Primary Care Networks) and supported by an army of volunteers, have performed miracles.
The ranks of vaccinators have been filled by a wide range of clinicians, both current and retired, who have answered the call, ensuring that vaccination services are able to run for as long and as often as there have been vaccines to inject.
The generosity and goodwill of all of those involved in the project, and of course the willingness of local people to do their bit by being vaccinated, has contributed to Frimley Health and Care enjoying some great results.
The vaccination team in Yateley was mentioned by the Prime Minister as one of the top three performers, before they received a phone call from Prince William and then a video call from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (left).
The team at Slough's Salt Hill vaccination centre were visited by TV presenter and actor Ross Kemp, who shone a light on the great work being done by the volunteers in a piece for The Lorraine Show.
Other services have also been visited and praised by Royalty and Parliamentarians, with Prince Edward visiting the service at Windsor Racecourse, and MPs Theresa May, Ranil Jayawardena and Michael Gove giving their support to their respective services.
The ‘hospital hub’ service at Wexham Park has provided not only valuable support to the system by vaccinating many of the first cohort (the over 80s) of local people, it has also protected many health and social care workers from the local area, including care home staff.
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust was also instrumental in the success of the wider GP-led services, as only acute hospitals have freezers capable of reaching the temperatures needed to store the Pfizer vaccine.
This mammoth effort has also been supported by the pharmacy teams from NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (East Berkshire, Surrey Heath, and North East Hampshire and Farnham, which merged on April 1, 2021 to create NHS Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)).
The CCG’s Primary Care team has also been working with GP practices and with NHS England to coordinate the vaccination services and to provide support where needed.
So much has been achieved in such a short space of time. The recent spread of the new ‘Delta variant’ has shown that we are not out of the woods yet and the vaccine programme is as important as it ever was.
Anyone who has been vaccinated is much less likely to become seriously ill from Covid-19 or be hospitalised. Having two doses provides the best protection.
If you haven’t had your jab yet, please join the ranks of those who have and help to provide your families, friends and communities with the protection they need to be able to overcome coronavirus.