'Pharmy Army' head out to give thousands of housebound people in South Tyneside their second covid jab
The ‘Pharmy Army’ has headed back into South Tyneside communities to ensure those unable to leave their homes get their second covid jab.
Now they are on the road again, giving up their weekends to help some of the borough’s most vulnerable.
They are hoping to complete the work by the end of April, depending on supply, are also helping people with learning disabilities also visiting them at home for their appointments.
Louise Lydon, of Edinburgh Road Pharmacy on Jarrow’s Scotch Estate, has helped lead the campaign, which returned last weekend.
She said: "It’s a massive piece of work but there’s such a strong team spirit, even though most of us had never worked together before.
"Our colleagues are even calling us South Tyneside’s Pharmy Army.
"It’s so different to how we normally work, but the goodwill has been phenomenal.
"Pharmacy staff have been incredible, but so have the students supporting us and the family members helping out with driving, so we can concentrate on our clinical work.
“We’ve had our challenges but it’s so rewarding, I feel proud to be part of it.
Jarrow resident Anthony Rannigan was one of nearly 500 people to get their second dose on Saturday, declaring it a “great service.”
He said: "I’m really pleased I could be vaccinated in my own home.
"I can only walk about 40 yards and then need to sit down so it would have been very difficult for me to get to a hub.”
Suzanne Colton, from Hebburn, said: “I’m 92 years old, so I was very happy to have the girls come to see me at home – and I feel fine after the vaccine.”
Matt Brown, Executive Director of Operations at NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “It’s a fantastic project and it’s making such a difference for our local NHS, helping some of our most vulnerable patients and being so thorough about reaching everyone.”
He added with first and second doses combined, the CCG has delivered 75,000-plus vaccinations so far and is on track to reach over-50s and people in at-risk groups by mid-April.