By Rachael Grealish
West Cumberland Hospital is to be one of the first in England to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The news came today, Sunday December 6, people aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be first to receive the jab, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.
Across England, this coming week, will commence the start of the biggest immunisation programme in history.
NHS staff are working through the weekend to prepare for the launch of the programme with the first vaccinations happening from Tuesday.
There are 50 hubs in the first wave and more hospitals will start vaccinating over the coming weeks and months as the programme ramps up.
North Cumbria Integrated Care posted on social media: “We are very proud that West Cumberland is to be one of the first hospitals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Our team has been working round the clock to put the arrangements in place that will allow us to start protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
Patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the life-saving jab.
Hospitals will also begin inviting over 80s in for a jab and work with care home providers to book their staff in to vaccination clinics.
Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from covid.
All those vaccinated will need a booster jab 21 days later.
GPs and other primary care staff are also being put on standby to start delivering the jab.
A small number of GP-led primary care networks will begin doing so during the following week (week beginning December 14) with more practices in more parts of the country joining in on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.
Vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients in sporting venues and conference centres will subsequently stand up when further supplies of vaccine come on stream.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “Despite the huge complexities, hospitals will kickstart the first phase of the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history from Tuesday.
“The first tranche of vaccine deliveries will be landing at hospitals by Monday in readiness.
The NHS has a strong record of delivering large scale vaccination programmes – from the flu jab, HPV vaccine and lifesaving MMR jabs – hardworking staff will once again rise to the challenge to protect the most vulnerable people from this awful disease.”
The life-saving vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder but there is a complex and difficult logistical challenge to deliver from the manufacturers Pfizer to patients.
It needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used.
NHS staff have been working over the weekend to prepare the sites and accept deliveries.
The full list of NHS England hospitals taking part in the roll out can be found HERE.