Almost all over 80s in South Tyneside have been given their first Covid vaccine as bosses hail 'incredible job' of workers
The borough’s NHS leaders have hailed the work of vaccine teams as several thousand residents have had the jab in the first three weeks.
A third vaccination centre will open at Cleadon Park in South Shields next week, joining Flagg Court in the town and The Glen in Hebburn, where workforces have been giving three vaccines every five minutes as they run 12 hours a day.
The campaign began in mid-December, with 81-year-old Joan Myers among the first to be given hers.
Matt Brown, Executive Director of Operations at NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The teams are doing an incredible job.
"Already, nearly all over-80s in Hebburn, Jarrow and South Shields have had their first dose, as well as a quarter of the borough’s care home residents.
“We now have a third vaccine centre about to open, and expect to complete the first dose vaccinations in the majority of care homes in the coming week too.
“It takes a huge amount of work to manage a programme on this scale, and our teams are working incredibly hard to provide the vaccine as quickly as we safely can.
“Most patients are thrilled to get the vaccine, and only very small numbers are failing to attend their appointments.
“It’s a massive logistical challenge – working across three sites, we have to align the booking system, staffing rota – for medical staff, administrators and marshals – and the timing of vaccine deliveries, often at short notice.
"The Pfizer vaccine is delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder, but is complex to move, store and prepare, and only lasts for three days, so we have to use it with great efficiency.
“Once we know a shipment is on its way, we work through the priority list, rota the staff, and check the equipment.
“Understandably, people are anxious to get the jab as soon as possible, but it’s very much a marathon and not a sprint.
“Right now, we’re focused on delivering patients’ first dose of the vaccine, in line with national guidance, and we’re absolutely going as fast as we can.”
The jab is only given to patients who have been invited to attend.