North East leaders set to help support 'mammoth task' of rolling out Covid vaccine

The leaders of the North East’s councils say they are ready to help support the NHS launch the Covid-19 vaccination project.

The group, which brings together chiefs from Northumberland County Council, South Tyneside Council, Sunderland City Council, Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, North Tyneside Council and Newcastle City Council, says it will now work to help the NHS ahead of its roll out.

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The leaders of seven councils across the North East have welcomed news a Covid-19 vaccine will be made available from next week.

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In a statement, the leaders said: “Today’s news that the MHRA have approved the first Covid vaccine is extremely positive and is a testament to a combined scientific effort at a global scale.

"Rolling out this vaccine is going to be a mammoth operational challenge with many complexities, but the local authorities stand ready to support the NHS in whatever way we can.

"Across the North East we will focus on ensuring that those high-risk groups are prioritised and are working with Newcastle Hospitals Trust, who are acting on behalf of all NHS partners, to coordinate the vaccine rollout over the coming months and in the longer term.

“Population wide vaccination will not happen overnight, so we need to be patient and continue to follow all the existing guidance around social distancing, hand washing, face coverings and responding appropriately if we think we have symptoms.

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“We must all continue to do our bit and keep working together to reduce the transmission of the virus so all our hard work to date in reducing cases numbers is not thrown away.”

Every area across the North East has also signed up to a mass testing programme for the virus following a decision by the Government to extend the project.

They region is now in Tier 3, the highest alert category, following the ending of the month-long lockdown across England today, allowing non-essential shops to reopen, but ordering the closure of cafes, pubs and restaurants, except for takeaways.

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