Former miner, George Hopwood, was one of a number local people to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at a clinic in South Kirkby on the historical first day of the local COVID-19 vaccination service.
Great-grandfather-of-three George said: “The doctor rang me and asked if I wanted the vaccine and I said “oh, yes please” – I didn’t know I was the first! The last few months have been hard but you’ve got to get through it haven’t you, you can’t let it get you down. I just can’t wait for things to get back to normal now”.
Wakefield’s first vaccine was administered by practice nurse, Lesley Bastow. Lesley said: “I’ve been a nurse for 34 years, but this is certainly the most memorable day of my career! I feel so proud to have played a role in helping to protect our most vulnerable patients against coronavirus”.
Wakefield residents are amongst the first in the country to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was approved by regulators earlier this month following extensive trials. It is now available to the priority groups the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and government has decided will benefit the most – specifically over-80s, care home residents and staff.
The initial local vaccination services are being led by GPs, practice nurses and community pharmacists through primary care networks, with other services to follow in the coming weeks as more vaccine supplies become available. The next stages of the roll out will see vaccines being delivered from venues across the district, including GP surgeries, community vaccination sites and Pinderfields Hospital.
Jo Webster, Chief Officer of NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a historical day for Wakefield. It’s been an incredibly challenging year for all of us, but today is a turning point in our fight against COVID-19 and we know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“The vaccination programme is the largest in NHS history, and it’s being delivered locally thanks to a fantastic combination of efforts by our staff and partners across the district.
“We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but we are asking people not to contact the NHS to seek a vaccine - we will be in touch when it’s time for you to come forward. When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments, and please continue to follow all the guidance to control the spread of the virus and save lives”.