Northampton General Hospital has been unveiled as one of the first COVID vaccination hubs as the NHS begins the biggest immunisation programme in history. 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.
Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital Group Chief Executive Simon Weldon said: “The COVID vaccine is really good news for us all as it is the most effective way to protect ourselves from the virus and, hopefully, start our return to normal life again.
“Rolling it out across Northamptonshire is a huge logistical operation and we are working at some pace to be ready to start vaccinating people as soon as possible.
“I am extremely proud of all involved, which includes staff from across the health system in Northamptonshire working alongside our pharmacy team to create the Northampton General Hospital hub. They are creating the systems needed so we can play our part in the biggest ever vaccination programme.”
Northampton General Hospital is one of 50 hubs in the first wave and more hospitals will start vaccinating over the coming weeks and months as the programme ramps up. The first vaccines are expected to be given on Tuesday but no date has yet been confirmed for Northampton.
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 14 December) 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.
Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital are one of the key partners in the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ recruitment campaign. The campaign brings together the University of Northampton, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital, Kettering General Hospital (KGH), St Andrew’s Healthcare and Northants GP and aims to recruit nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals to live and work in Northamptonshire.
To find out about other vacancies across Northamptonshire visit http://bestofbothworlds.uk.net/