The NHS in Dorset is starting to vaccinate people against COVID-19 at Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust from this week at the start of the biggest immunisation programme in history.
The Dorset health and care system has been working closely together on plans for some time to prepare and plan for the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and NHS staff worked through the weekend to prepare for the launch of the programme this week.
GPs and other primary care staff in Dorset are also planning to start delivering the vaccine, whilst nationally, vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients in sporting venues and conference centres will subsequently stand up across the country when further supplies of vaccine become available.
Under a phased roll-out, people aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be amongst the first to receive the vaccine, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk from COVID-19.
Dr Karen Kirkham, GP, Clinical lead for the Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme, and Assistant Clinical Director of NHS Dorset CCG, said: “The Dorset health and care system has been working closely together on plans for some time and that sets us up really well to deliver the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history to the people of Dorset. This is a huge task and all partners in Dorset will play an important part in making this happen.”
Dorset County Hospital’s Chief Executive Patricia Miller said: “Our staff have worked incredibly hard and quickly to bring together everything necessary behind the scenes to safely roll-out the vaccination programme at Dorset County Hospital and we are delighted to be able to offer the vaccination locally.”
Dawn Dawson, Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re really experienced in providing vaccination services including flu and school immunisations. We’re working hard to make sure we can deliver immunisations safely and efficiently and we’re so proud of our staff for continuing to support and care for our local communities, including setting up brand new services for the vaccination programme.”
Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Councils, said: “After a difficult year for everyone, we know that news of a COVID-19 vaccine provides some hope that we may be able to return to a more normal way of life at some point next year.
“While this is good news, it’s important we don’t lose sight of the things we all need to do now to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Self-isolation, regular handwashing, wearing a face covering and limiting social contact all remain critical to protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.”
Please note that the NHS will contact those who have been identified as a priority to be offered the vaccine first; please do not contact your local hospital, GP surgery, or other NHS services.