270,000 vaccine doses given out in Sunderland as jabs programme hailed 'a great success'
Health workers behind Sunderland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme have been praised after hitting a new milestone, with around 275,000 doses administered across the city.
Roll out of the two-stage programme started in December 2020 and has continued at pace, with staff working through a national list of priority cohorts.
According to figures presented to NHS bosses this week for phase one, 92% of first doses and 70% of second doses have been given to the first nine cohorts on Wearside – totalling some 230,000 doses.
These cohorts include all those aged 50 and over, residents in care homes and adults in an ‘at-risk group.’
Meanwhile in phase two, 35,000 first doses and 10,000 second doses have been given to patients across the next three priority cohorts, which include younger age groups.
It comes as Sunderland City Council have reported that a ‘very small number’ of confirmed cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus have been recorded on Wearside.
The national booking system is currently inviting vaccinations for those in their 30s while Sunderland’s primary care networks, at the time of the meeting, were inviting those aged 35 and over.
The latest snapshot of vaccination figures were revealed to the Governing Body of NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on Tuesday (May 25), which was held remotely and broadcast live on Facebook.
Health bosses heard that work was ongoing to get vaccines to hard to reach and vulnerable groups with ‘roving clinics’ targeting ethnic minority communities, asylum seekers, homeless shelters and more.
A presentation to health chiefs said that challenges going forward include balancing the staffing demands of the vaccination programme with the demands of general practice.
Discussions are also taking place around future booster campaigns and the delivery models needed for this.
Dr Fadi Khalil, who has spearheaded the Covid-19 vaccination programme on Wearside, said thousands of NHS staff hours had gone into the vaccine drive so far.
He added that the modelling of vaccine doses locally represented a rate of “a patient every four minutes.”
Many members of the CCG praised the progress of the vaccination programme, saying the ‘statistics speak for themselves.’
Clinical chair of the Governing Body and executive GP, Dr Ian Pattison, added that “every single link of the chain is absolutely essential” in the vaccination effort, from clinicians to the administration work in the background.
He told the meeting: “Thank you on behalf of the Governing Body to everybody no matter what your role is in the vaccine programme.
“It has been a great success, we have also heard about the challenges going forward about the fatigue and challenge that might bring and the commitment of staff to continue wanting to keep people safe by vaccinating.
“But also the reality that we all have to do our bit to make sure people are able and free to do that.”
The CCG Governing Body was broadcast on Facebook with members of the public able to leave comments on a thread below the video.
Sunderland city councillor and former Mayoress, Dianne Snowdon, who has been working as a vaccinator at the city’s Nightingale Hospital, posted her own tributes to NHS staff during the meeting.
“As a local councillor representing the Washington Central ward, can I thank everyone working on the vaccine project,” she said.