First COVID-19 vaccinations given in Cornwall

The NHS in Cornwall has today (Wednesday 9 December) become part of the biggest immunisation programme in history as part of the battle against the pandemic.
Health and care partners across the county have been working around the clock on plans to make the vaccine available to the national priority groups, with it to be offered widely over the coming weeks and months.

The first vaccine was delivered at 8am this morning. (Wednesday)

People aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be first to receive the vaccine this week, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.

Donna MacKinnon, 47, head of care at Roscarrack House Care Home in Falmouth, and her daughter Erin Lilly, 18, who is also works as a carer within the home, were the first to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. 

Donna said: “As a carer I wanted to do all that I can to protect our residents and their loved ones and that’s why I have had my vaccination today.

“We have had residents who have become poorly with the virus at our home and we’ve seen first-hand the impact it has had on their lives, those of their families and their friends inside and out of the home.

“I feel quite overwhelmed; it almost feels as if Christmas has arrived early. I know my colleagues across Cornwall feel exactly the same way as I do, which is why so many have already signed up to have the vaccination.”

Donna’s daughter Erin signed up to be a carer at the home when the COVID-19 pandemic started.

She added: “Today is a really wonderful day and I’m looking forward to getting back to work and telling the residents about the vaccination and what they can expect from the vaccination when they receive it and the protection it will provide.”

Medical professional putting on personal protective equipment including face visor, apron and gloves.

Sarah Budden, lead nurse for quality, safety and innovation at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT), said: “When the call came asking for staff to give the COVID-19 vaccination I really wanted to play my part from the very start of the rollout out and make sure that those who need it the most receive it.

“We all want to get back to a sense of normality, to provide the care that we have trained and committed to offering and protect those who are in our care as well as our loved ones.

“It has been a lot of hard work to get to today but it is a wonderful feeling and an emotional one as well.”

RCHT chief executive, Kate Shields said: “We’re really excited to be one of the vaccination hubs and to be able to do our bit to help protect our local communities. The arrival of the vaccine is a turning point for us all in fighting the pandemic. 

“Our hospital teams, together with colleagues from partner organisations, are doing a fantastic job, pulling out all the stops to get our local vaccination programme up and running. We are ready to begin today, targeting the national priority groups, while continuing the complex planning to roll out the vaccine more widely over the coming weeks and months.”

Iain Davidson, chief pharmacist at RCHT, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the huge effort played by everyone across health and care to make sure that today we are ready for the first people to receive their vaccination.

“The vaccine is safe and is the best line of defence against COVID-19 and while it will allow us to return to a sense of normality, this particular vaccine is complex to move, store and prepare.”

“That’s why it will first be given in our hospital before it is carefully rolled out through vaccination services run by GPs, pharmacists and practice nurses, and in care homes if they can’t come to us.”

Hospital staff setting up a room for the COVID-19 vaccination

Iain Chorlton, GP and NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group chairman, said: “GPs and primary care networks across Cornwall have been working hard to prepare to start delivering the vaccine as soon as we can.

“During the pandemic Cornwall has shown the NHS its support and a dedication to doing the right thing to protect ourselves, our loved ones and those that we care for.

“We ask for your continued support. You will play an important part in helping us to deliver the vaccine effectively to those who most need it.

“We ask that you please don’t contact the NHS to seek your vaccine, we will contact you. When we do contact you, please act immediately, and attend your booked appointments.”

Rachel Wigglesworth, director of public health, said: “The arrival of the vaccine is the news that we have all been waiting for. It is great to see the first of the priority groups receiving their vaccines today. However, this does not mean that we can be complacent and we must continue to follow all the guidance, particularly hand hygiene and social distancing, to control the virus and save lives.”

Visit nhs.uk or gov.uk to find out more about the coronavirus vaccine.

Added on 09/12/2020, in News - News