The first patients to be vaccinated against covid-19 by their GPs in north Cumbria have described it as ‘a marvellous day’.
First to be vaccinated in Carlisle was retired printer Jim Addison, 88, from Belle Vue in the city. He said: “It’s a wonderful thing to be the first and at the same time to get the cover for the disease. I’m pleased about it.”
The great grandad was clapped out of the surgery by staff. He said: “Everybody here has been marvellous, and the team that discovered this antidote deserve a medal. Don’t worry about when it is your turn. You will be alright.”
The first Primary Care Networks (PCNs) – that’s a group of GPs working together – in north Cumbria to be vaccinating are Carlisle Healthcare and Copeland PCNs.
Dr Andrew Edgar, GP Partner from Carlisle Healthcare, gave the first vaccination in the city at the North Carlisle Medical Centre. He praised the hard work of the team of GPs, nurses, healthcare assistants, pharmacists, the administration team and buildings team that had worked hard to get ready.
He said: “It is an historic moment and I’m delighted to be able to give the first vaccination in Carlisle. The team have been fantastic. The patients have been pleased to get the vaccine and we know this is just the start, other GPs will begin offering it soon. We want patients to know that when it is their turn they will be contacted and asked to come in – you don’t need to contact your GP.”
Also waiting early in the queue for their appointments were patients eager to get the vaccine.
Bobby Barber, 81, a retired steelworker from Morton Park, said: “I was over the moon. It’s marvellous that they got it out so quickly. I feel great now.”
Christine Adie, 85, from Harraby has 12 grandchildren and three grandchildren. She has only been letting one of her children visit her at home and was keen to get the vaccine. She said: “It is absolutely brilliant. It doesn’t hurt. It’s so quick.”
In Copeland Dr Eve Miles said: “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and taken a couple of weeks to get everything up and running. We’ve had an amazing team and finally this morning we’ve had our first patients through the door.
“I feel very lucky that we’re able to start offering this to our most vulnerable patients and we are working on vaccinating our over 80s in Copeland. We’ve got a really great team working with us, every practice has put forward staff to help support this programme. We’ve also had an amazing behind the scenes team as well as a super group of volunteers from Ambulance First Responders and Cumbria Blood Bikes. I’m incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside all of them.
“I am hopeful that this means we’ll be able to start getting back to some sort of normality as soon as possible.”
Phyllis Kennedy, 87, from Whitehaven said: “I’m really honoured to be chosen to get the vaccination first. It was no problem at all, they are very efficient and a great team. “Don’t hesitate to come and have this done because the sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we’ll get back to normal.”
Hundreds of local vaccination services run by family doctors and their teams across the UK started vaccinating this week.
The NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.
Patients will be contacted and invited for vaccination - we would urge them not to contact their practice enquiring about vaccination, the NHS will contact them when it is ready for them.