COVID-19 vaccine rollout welcomed by Surrey Heath GP patients

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The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine into communities within Surrey Heath has been welcomed by local people.

Patients in Camberley received the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine at Heatherside Surgery when the local service went live on Wednesday, December 16, as part of the largest vaccination programme in NHS history.

Jean Papps, 87, (pictured top right) was certainly surprised at how quickly and easily the vaccination went, adding: "Was that it?”

She then issued a timely reminder to all those awaiting the vaccine that: “Everyone should have it if it helps.”

Also arriving in Camberley for her vaccine was Ruth Baker, 89, who since the start of the pandemic, has not left her home or garden.

Isolated from loved ones she would normally see more regularly, Ruth has instead ‘been relying on my wonderful neighbours to do the shopping and village trips’. She added: “I haven’t been able to visit family and it would be wonderful to visit them.”

Fellow attendees of the COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Camberley, include Norman Pavey, 80, who was glad to receive his injection and is looking forward to spending time with his family and young children.

Norman said: “I just want to give my family assurance that I’m okay.”

The vaccine was first delivered to patients nationally on December 8, through 'hospital hubs', as the specific requirements of keeping it at minus 70 degrees centigrade meant only acute hospitals had the necessary facilities at that time.

But now local GP practices are delivering the vaccines to frontline health workers, care home staff and people over the age of 80 across Surrey Heath communities (which are all in Wave One of the wider national vaccination services rollout).

Dr Mark Pugsley, GP and Senior Partner at Park Road Group Practice and Clinical Director for Surrey Heath Primary Care Network (PCN), said: “Surrey Heath PCN, working on behalf of all seven practices, has enjoyed a very successful first day administering Covid-19 Vaccinations to the over 80s.

“The patients have been very positive about both the vaccination and the processes in place at Heatherside Surgery. We have been pleased to play our part in the vaccination programme, helping towards the Covid-19 recovery plans and the maintaining the health of our population.

“We look forward to continuing with the vaccination programme over the coming months. The PCN would like to thank the entire team across all Surrey Heath Practices in making these clinics a successful collaboration.”

Health services are reminding people not to contact the NHS to arrange an appointment but to wait until they are contacted. The national vaccination programme is the largest ever undertaken by the NHS and will take many months to complete.