‘Gordon’s alive!’ was heard booming within the Heatherside Surgery corridor on Friday evening (8 January 2021) as iconic stage and screen star and Surrey Heath resident Brian Blessed OBE - and his wife Hildegarde - joined the fight against Covid-19.
Both Brian and Hildegarde received their vaccination as part of the largest vaccination programme in NHS history on Wednesday, December 16 at Heatherside Surgery in Surrey Heath.
Brian Blessed (pictured right with staff at Heatherside Surgery) and star of wide ranging film and TV series’ including Flash Gordon, Star Wars and Z-Cars - said: “I’m very glad to be here today at Heatherside and am relieved that my wife and I are going to live; so thank you NHS.
“Having the vaccine for me is a wonderful day of celebration and the NHS is performing heroically. The NHS is so wonderful and we really have an organisation which we can be so proud of and that is saving us right now.
“This fight against Covid-19 is an even greater effort than the Second World War and I urge everybody to obey the lockdown rules and together we’ll come through this and then hopefully be able to look forward to wonderful things including a lovely summer of happiness and health.”
And while Brian and Hildegarde received the vaccine from Camberley’s Heatherside Surgery site (GU15 1SE) on Friday, Surrey Heath has now opened its local vaccination service on Tuesday, 12th January, at Lakeside International Hotel, Frimley Green, to support the further roll out of the vaccination programme.
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 from December 16 local GP practices started to deliver 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); including at the Heatherside Surgery in Cumberland Road.
To ensure no vaccine wastage the Primary Care Networks - who are responsible for overseeing these local vaccination services - are ensuring the number of vaccines being rolled out at places like Heatherside and Lakeside match the weekly number of people attending each vaccination service for their appointment.
Dr Mark Pugsley, GP and Senior Partner at Park Road Group Practice and Clinical Director for Surrey Heath Primary Care Network (PCN), said: “Run by Surrey Heath Primary Care Network, in partnership with NHS Surrey Heath Clinical Commissioning Group, the new Lakeside vaccination service will deliver this vital vaccine on behalf of all seven GP surgeries in Surrey Heath.
“More widely, with our initial start at Heatherside Surgery and now, our first week at the much larger Lakeside hub - where we can deliver a much greater scale of vaccines - overall the vaccine roll out has been going very well so far. There has been a great response from patients who have all been really grateful.
“We’ve almost completed vaccinating our priority cohort of people aged 80 and over and we’ve been successfully progressing vaccinating our front line workers too, with many primary care and partner staff having now also received their first vaccine.”
While GPs continue to roll out the vaccination to our most vulnerable, health services are reminding the public they also have an important part to play to help the NHS expand this programme and to deliver it effectively, including:
- 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.
The national vaccination programme is the largest ever undertaken by the NHS and will take many months to complete.