Date has been announced for the first Harborough people to be vaccinated against Covid-19

As per the national guidelines, the priority groups of people aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be the first to receive the jab, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk

Friday, 11th December 2020, 1:03 pm
Updated Friday, 11th December 2020, 1:06 pm
The first people from across Harborough are set to be vaccinated against Covid-19 from Saturday December 12.

The first people from across Harborough are set to be vaccinated against Covid-19 from Saturday December 12.

People aged over 80, care home workers and NHS frontline staff will be among the first to receive the life-saving Pfizer jab at the new hub at Leicester General Hospital on Gwendolen Road.

Andy Williams, chief executive for the three regional Clinical Commissioning Groups in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: “This is fantastic news as we know that many people throughout our communities will be pleased we can start delivering this ground-breaking programme.

“We anticipate that vaccinations will begin this weekend, subject to final details being confirmed, and be delivered from a hospital-hub at the Leicester General Hospital.

“As per the national guidelines, the priority groups of people aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be the first to receive the jab, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.

“We have already begun inviting eligible people for the vaccine and all those vaccinated will need a booster jab 21 days later.

“Given the extended restrictions Leicester and parts of Leicestershire have been under the vaccine is welcome news.”

Andy added: “The team here are getting ready to deliver the vaccinations and looking forward to doing so.

“It’s important to appreciate it will take time to be rolled out across the local population.

“In the meantime, it is essential that people do not become complacent and continue to follow any local restrictions as well as public health advice.

“It is, to borrow a phrase, a marathon not a sprint.

“And the NHS will contact you when we need you to come forward for your vaccination.

“We would like to thank all those involved for their hard work in getting us to this point.

“It has required detailed planning, managing the complexities and logistical challenges of this new vaccine with its unique storage and transportation requirements.

“Staff across our system are ready for this historic moment.”

The Leicester General Hospital vaccination hub is the first of a range of sites to be set up across Leicestershire – including Harborough – over the next few weeks as further supplies of the vaccine become available.

The NHS is stressing that people will be invited to have a vaccination – and don’t need to take any action themselves.

“The NHS will contact you if you are eligible for a vaccine and are being invited to attend an appointment,” said an NHS spokesman.

The trailblazing move to begin vaccinating people in the district is being welcomed by Harborough MP Neil O’Brien.

“This is fantastic, historic news that people throughout our district will start getting the coronavirus vaccine in the coming days.

“Starting with those who are most at risk, GPs will be getting in touch to offer people the vaccine and explain where they should go to get it.

“Getting the vaccine out to tens of millions of people is going to be one of the biggest organisational challenges since the Second World War.

“This first vaccine is very high-tech and needs to be stored at minus 80 degrees which makes matters more difficult,” said Neil.

“Other vaccines that are nearing approval are a bit simpler to manage and will help us speed up the process next year.

“The good news is that the UK government has successfully bought up more vaccine shots than any other so we are in a stronger position to move quickly.”

But the MP warned it will be well into next year before enough people are vaccinated against the virulent coronavirus to start to get back to normal.

“It is still going to be months until we get to large enough numbers of people vaccinated to be able to get fully back to normal.

“So we will have to keep pulling together to do the things which will keep the virus under control throughout the winter and spring.

“It would be tragic to have people dying unnecessarily of the virus when the end is in sight and people are getting vaccinated,” insisted Neil.

“But after a tough year the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter.

“This is an historic moment and a huge breakthrough - and means that next year things can gradually start getting back to normal.”