Trafford vaccine army takes on 67,000 booster challenge one year on since its first patient was jabbed

Exactly one year on (December 16) since the Covid-19 vaccine was given to Trafford’s first patient, the borough’s army of clinicians, healthcare staff and volunteers are ramping up the drive to give the booster jab to thousands of eligible people.

A Trafford-wide push to vaccinate more than 67,000 patients across the whole of the borough by New Year’s Eve is now underway, in light of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and the borough’s five Primary Care Networks, quickly mobilised this week to offer thousands of appointments to registered patients at sites across the borough, ensuring all eligible people are able to book and receive a Covid-19 booster vaccine by 31 December – a target date set by the Government in an announcement on Sunday.

Thanks to close liaison with Greater Manchester Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), pharmacy sites in the borough are also increasing their capacity for both booked appointments and walk-in clinics.

Dr Mark Jarvis, Medical Director at NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), urged patients to have their vaccine booster – or first or second jab – as soon as possible.

He said: “We’re gearing up to vaccinate around 4,000 patients a day with a booster to meet the Government’s end-of-year target and would urge those who are eligible to come forward to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“If you have a mobile phone and are registered with a Trafford GP practice, you should receive a text message with a booking link so you can organise a slot at a set time and avoid long waits and queuing.

“Our clinicians and staff will spend the coming weeks delivering thousands of vaccinations alongside caring for patients' other needs, and the NHS has been asked to prioritise those with urgent health concerns attending their GP practice. This may have an impact on routine appointment availability but please rest assured that your safety and wellbeing remain our priority.”

Danny Herman, a former Olympic sprinter and survivor of the Holocaust, was the first person in Trafford to receive his vaccination on December 16, 2020.

Dr Maz Sangha, who administered the jab at Altrincham Health and Wellbeing Centre, described his team as “selfless heroes committed to ensuring patients are protected” said that involvement in Covid vaccination roll-out had been the highlight of his GP career.

He added: “It’s been a privilege and humbling to be involved from ‘day one’. This incredible effort would be impossible without such a fantastic team. The support and kindness of patients has been overwhelming – many of those having their first vaccine last year said it was ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ and shared heart-breaking stories of isolation or losing loved ones in the pandemic.

“And now, we’re facing a bigger challenge of a potentially more infectious variant.”

With the vaccine now extended to those aged 18+ who are more than three months on from their second vaccination and the Government’s drive to vaccinate all eligible adults by 31 December, the NHS has risen to the occasion. The unprecedented demand on GPs combining the accelerated booster roll-out with flu vaccines plus caring for their patients during traditionally demanding wintertime, “can be exhausting” admits Dr Sangha, adding “but this is a vocation and my priority is the patients.”

HOW TO BOOK YOUR VACCINE IN TRAFFORD

  • If you have a mobile phone and are registered with a Trafford GP practice, you should receive a text message with a booking link to avoid long queues
  • Thanks to close liaison with Greater Manchester Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), pharmacy sites in the borough are also increasing their capacity for both booked appointments and walk-in clinics
  • Registered patients who have received a booking link are advised to take advantage and book ahead. However, walk-in sites – where booking is not necessary – are available.

For more information on Covid-19 vaccines, please visit www.traffordccg.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Posted on Thursday 16th December 2021