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'Momentous' day as West Suffolk Hospital staff begin to receive coronavirus vaccine




West Suffolk Hospital staff have begun to receive the coronavirus vaccine in a 'momentous' day.

The Bury St Edmunds hospital launched their staff Covid-19 vaccination programme yesterday, with nearly 1,000 vaccines made available.

In a tweet, a spokesman described the rollout as 'momentous'.

Nurse Louise Griffin is supporting the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine at WSFT and Dr Abul Azim was one of the first members of staff to receive it. Picture: West Suffolk NHS FT
Nurse Louise Griffin is supporting the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine at WSFT and Dr Abul Azim was one of the first members of staff to receive it. Picture: West Suffolk NHS FT

A floor of an office block has been converted into a staff vaccination hub and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is expecting more vaccines to be delivered in the coming weeks.

The trust is prioritising high-risk and patient-facing staff in the first instance.

Dr Abul Azim, lead consultant for stroke medicine, was one of the first members of staff to receive the vaccine.

West Suffolk Hospital has launched its staff vaccination programme. Picture: West Suffolk NHS FT
West Suffolk Hospital has launched its staff vaccination programme. Picture: West Suffolk NHS FT

He said: "I am thrilled to have received the vaccine today and celebrate that our staff are being vaccinated.

"Staff have obviously felt some anxiety about the disease and being vaccinated is one of the ways we can beat this.

"Today is a brilliant day. We are proud to provide high quality, safe care and this will ensure we feel more secure as we look after our patients."

Dr Nick Jenkins, medical director at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, also took to Twitter to hail the move.

He said: "Such good news. Really grateful to the team who made this happen. It’s a privilege to work with you.

"Spending time in the team today I realise how much we can do - next batch of vaccines ordered for Friday.

"Imagine if we could get to 2000 vaccinations/week."

A trust spokesman added that although the vaccinations were a 'great symbol of hope', they still needed the community to help prevent the spread of coronavirus by following the latest guidance.

Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of the trust, said: "This is a really important milestone in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus and in keeping our workforce healthy as we deal with increasing cases of Covid-19 here at the hospital.

"Rollout of the vaccine will help guard staff against the virus, meaning we can build up our resistance to it and in turn help protect family, friends and patients we are caring for.

"We are in the early stages of our staff vaccination programme and anticipate it will take a number of weeks to complete but this is a really positive start.

"Whilst this is an exciting step forward, we must all – both staff, including those who are vaccinated, and our local community – continue to practise social distancing, wear a face mask, wash hands carefully and frequently, and follow the current guidance."

Yesterday, healthcare bosses in West Suffolk moved to reassure residents waiting to be contacted about receiving the coronavirus vaccine - with more sites set to deliver the jab from next week.

Addressing residents, aged 80 and over, who have not yet been given an appointment for the jab, the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said they were having to prioritise the oldest and those with underlying health conditions due to the amount of vaccine available.

A spokesman said: "I understand people are really keen and anxious to know when they can have their vaccine.

"I understand why everyone wants to know but we are having to prioritise based on age and medical condition at this initial stage but we will get around to everybody."

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