Doctor who lost father and two uncles to covid oversees Sunderland's 'war time effort' at city's first vaccination clinic

The first patients in Sunderland have been given their Covid-19 vaccination, heralding the “beginning of the end” of the pandemic.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 3:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 3:56 pm

Grindon Lane Primary Care Centre is the first of six locations across Wearside to run the clinic, with the second to be in action within days and a call centre set up to get patients booked in, with the over 80s to be first to get the immunisation.

Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has said 300 doses will have been delivered today, Tuesday, December 15, with that to increase to 1,000 as further sessions begin, rising to 18,000 a week in the New Year, depending on supplies.

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Live updates as first Covid-19 vaccine jabs delivered in Sunderland

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Dr Fadi Khalil and his team worked non-stop to run the first of the Covid-19 vaccination clinics.

Among those to be first in the line was June Richardson, a grandmother of eight and great-grandmother of seven from Farringdon.

The 84-year-old, who is married to Alf, 90, and worked at a Post Office and general dealers in Thorney Close, said she was “chuffed” to have been invited for the jab and added: “I’m happy because it means we’re doing something about it.

"It didn’t hurt.”

June Richardson was among the first patients in Sunderland to get the vaccine.

Dr Fadi Khalil, a GP and vice chairman of the CCG, was overseeing the running of the busy session and knows first hand the tragedy of the virus, having lost his father and two uncles to the disease.

He said: “Everyone has been extremely positive and there’s been a war time effort to get this ready.

"But it is just the beginning of the end.

”Everybody has been feeling quite emotional and I can say personally, having lost my father, if he was here now, I would be dragging him in for it.

The clinic at Grindon Lane was busy with visitors as those aged 80 and over were called in to get their jab first.

"It is very effective, it’s very safe and a shot in the arm is a small price to pay.”

He added those who turned down the jab would receive follow up calls to ensure as many people as possible are protected.

Fellow GP Dr Ian Pattison, chairman of the CCG, praised his deputy and all those who have been involved in setting up the programme in Sunderland.

Grindon Lane Primary Care Centre is the first of what will be six locations across Wearside to offer the vaccine.

"I think it is a momentous effort to get to the point where we are giving the vaccine and to see so many people come in and so quickly is such a positive thing.”

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