8 Dec 2020, 9:22 a.m.

In Gloucestershire, the biggest and most highly anticipated immunisation campaign in history will begin at a hospital hub in Gloucester today before the scope of the programme is widened via an innovative community vaccination model.

This is a truly exciting time and I'm both privileged and very proud to be leading the programme for Gloucestershire

Professor Steve Hams, Senior Responsible Officer for the Gloucestershire COVID Vaccination programme

NHS and social care partners in Gloucestershire are working together to quickly and effectively roll out the COVID-19 vaccine programme to nationally-agreed priority and eligible groups, including people aged over 80, care home staff and NHS workers across Gloucestershire who are at higher risk.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the Management and Co-ordination Organisation (MCO) leading the programme for the county and will be managing the vaccination programme, as well as being responsible for the recruitment and training of all staff required to implement this vital campaign.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Deborah Lee said: “After a year in which we have faced challenges of a scale never seen in the NHS’s history, I am delighted that we will be leading the programme to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect people in Gloucestershire.

“I could not be more proud of the way that my colleagues across Gloucestershire health and care system have cared for patients and their families who were affected by COVID-19 during this pandemic and I know that they will show the same unwavering commitment to delivering this vaccine. Not only will the new vaccine save lives and bring us all hope but also it signals the start of our journey towards the lives many of us have missed so much.”

“Our Gloucestershire model for delivering this vaccine has been designed to take into account the nature and needs of our county; it will make use of our tried and tested immunisation model which will see GPs and other colleagues working in primary and community care a vital part of our approach. This is a huge undertaking operationally, but as a One Gloucestershire system, we are prepared and committed to delivering it as safely and as quickly as possible.”

Since the Pfizer vaccine got the green light from regulators last week, staff involved in the vaccination programme have been working around the clock to ensure that this vital programme is ready to go live to people in Gloucestershire.

Professor Steve Hams, Director of Quality and Chief Nurse at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Senior Responsible Officer for the Gloucestershire COVID Vaccination programme said: “This week sees the start of a ground-breaking public health campaign and the UK leading the way globally as the first country to start the COVID-19 vaccination programme. I have personally seen the devastation and sadness that Coronavirus has brought to our patients, their families, my colleagues and our communities.

“Here at Gloucestershire Hospitals, we are one of 50 vaccination hubs across the country and we'll be supporting the implementation of the vaccine throughout Gloucestershire. This is a truly exciting time and I'm both privileged and very proud to be leading the programme for Gloucestershire. Importantly, not only will the vaccine save lives and reduce the pressure on NHS services, it also marks the start of our journey back to living our lives as we would wish, albeit having learnt some important lessons from the pandemic.

“By delivering the COVID-19 vaccine in Gloucestershire, we are walking in the footsteps of Edward Jenner, the Gloucestershire-born scientist who not only pioneered the concept of vaccines but also changed the lives of millions around the world by creating the smallpox vaccine.”

John Trevains, Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality at Gloucestershire Health and Social Care said: “After everything we have all been through this year, the vaccine’s arrival in the county is a huge step forward. Working together we will be doing our utmost to ensure that we deliver the vaccine efficiently and safely to those people who need it.”

Dr Andy Seymour, Clinical Chair at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge human and societal impact and the imminent roll out of a vaccination programme is to be warmly welcomed. I would like to pay tribute to the thousands of NHS and care professionals across our county who, for months, have worked tirelessly and shown extraordinary resilience to deliver the best care possible in unprecedented times. Now, many of those workers will be supporting the vaccination effort and we thank them for their wonderful service.”

The public in Gloucestershire also has an important part to play to help us deliver this effectively to those who need it most. Our message to the public is therefore:

  • please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you
  • when we do contact you, please act immediately, and attend your booked appointments
  • please continue to follow all the guidance – hand hygiene and social distancing in particular - to control the virus and save lives.

Sarah Scott, Director of Public Health for Gloucestershire County Council said: “This news really helps to lift the mood, providing some light at the end of the tunnel. There is still some way to go though, before COVID no longer has such a large impact on all our lives. Please remain vigilant and do all you can to minimise the spread of the virus to protect the vulnerable in our county and support health and social services who, at this time of year, are already under greater pressure.”

This is a huge undertaking operationally, but as a One Gloucestershire system, we are prepared and committed to delivering it as safely and as quickly as possible

Deborah Lee, Chief Executive
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