12 December 2020

People across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have this week started to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of the largest immunisation programme in UK history. Invitations to book an appointment are being sent to priority groups, with those aged 80 or older, care home workers, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk are among the first to receive the vaccination.

Dr Elin Roddy from SaTH receiving her vaccine

Dr Elin Roddy, a Respiratory Physician at The Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust (SaTH) who has worked on COVID wards for the past eight months was one of the first to receive the vaccine.

She said: “I am really excited and grateful to receive a Covid-19 vaccination and would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen. I have elderly parents who I haven’t hugged since February because of the pandemic. When I told them, I’d had a vaccination they were so relieved – they have been very worried for me through this, as I have worried about them.

“As a respiratory consultant, I have experienced first-hand the effects of Covid on patients and families. We all see the effect this pandemic is having on our everyday life and it is fantastic that we now have a safe and effective vaccine, although we still have to be careful. I would strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they are asked to come forward. I know people will understand that we need to start with those who are most vulnerable and at risk first. The vaccine is the best Christmas present I could have wished for and it feels like we are taking the first steps back towards normality.”

Angie Wallace, the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme Director for Shropshire and Telford &Wrekin, said: “I’m really proud of how NHS, staff from both councils and volunteers have pulled together to get this programme up and running in such a short space of time. The vaccine was only licensed earlier this month and already we are vaccinating our most vulnerable local residents in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.”

People across the country are being prioritised in line with national recommendations. This means the most vulnerable will be vaccinated first, with everyone being offered the vaccine over the next few months. The Hospital Hub at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital is the first venue in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin to deliver vaccinations. Further centres are currently being prepared and staff being trained to expand the number of delivery locations across the county in the near future to deliver vaccinations closer to where people live.

Dr Charlotte Hart, a GP and Clinical Director for Shrewsbury Primary Care Network, said: “All GPs are encouraging their patients to make sure their contact details are up to date, so that when the time is right they will receive a letter inviting them to book an appointment for their Covid-19 vaccine. We are receiving many calls from people eager to find out how and when they can receive their Covid jab. We’re asking everyone to be patient, wait until we contact you, rather than calling us, as our staff are incredibly busy as we move into winter. Vaccinating everyone will take some time, but locally we are moving incredibly quickly, and you will be offered an appointment at the right time.”

Dr Arne Rose, Medical Director at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, 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.

“The vaccine is safe and is the best line of defence against Covid-19, this is a hugely significant moment in our pandemic response and offers hope at the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year for us all.”

Liz Noakes, Director of Public Health at Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “The arrival of the vaccine is the news we have all been waiting for and it is great to see those most vulnerable in our communities starting to receive the vaccine. However, this does not mean that we can now stop following restrictions, please continue to self-isolate and get tested when you need to, do not socialise indoors, wash your hands, wear a face covering where appropriate, and maintain a distance of 2m from other people.”