Today (8 December) marks one-year since we delivered the first COVID-19 vaccinations to patients and staff at the RVI and also opened our doors to one of the country’s first large vaccination centre at Newcastle’s Centre for Life.
The centre- the first of seven across the North East and North Cumbria to vaccinate large numbers of people quickly – initially opened to NHS staff including nurses, doctors and pharmacists working nearby as well as care home and social care workers ahead its public opening on 11 January 2021 when the over 80s were invited to attend.
It provided an alternative choice for the most vulnerable and provided extra capacity alongside teams in GP practices, who were to deliver the majority of the vaccines as well as hospital hubs.
To date, the Centre for Life has administered 231,534 vaccine doses including 110,189 first doses, 110,796 second doses and 10,549 boosters and both Pfizer and AstraZeneca have been given there.
This means that 26% of the total volume of vaccines delivered by the 7 vaccination centres across the North East and North Cumbria have been done at the Centre for Life. There have also been 68 primary care networks, 193 community pharmacy locations and hundreds of pop-up and mobile vaccination services to serve the full population of the region.
In total 5,461,198 vaccinations have been administered by hundreds of healthcare staff and trained volunteers meaning that on average 74% have received their first 2 doses.
Professor Neil Watson, who heads up the COVID-19 vaccination programme for the North East and North Cumbria said: “I remember that very first day where we had people who were so very keen to get their vaccine. One lady in particular stood out for me. It was the first time she had been out of the house in months, she was so grateful and said it was like a day trip out.”
“It was an enormous privilege to be able to witness that joy and to be part of delivering hope to people. Everyone who has worked on the programme of course have worked very hard and continue to do so as we deliver vaccines to the over 12’s and boosters ahead of winter.”
“Without their collective effort, we would not be in the position that we are now. Thank you to every single person who has helped to make this programme a success.”
The first patient to receive their Pfizer vaccine at the RVI was Newcastle race relations campaigner Dr Hari Shukla who got the vaccine alongside his wife, Ranju, from nurse Suzanne Meadows.