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First Person in Barnsley Receives the Covid 19 Vaccine as Part of Biggest NHS Immunisation Programme

Herbert Barker recieves first COVID19 vaccine in Barnsley
First Person in Barnsley Receives the Covid 19 Vaccine as Part of Biggest NHS Immunisation Programme
15 December 2020

The COVID-19 vaccination programme started in Barnsley today as 83-year old Herbert Barker, from Wombwell, became the first resident to receive the ground-breaking vaccine at Barnsley’s GP-led vaccination service. This comes as the rollout of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history gains further momentum.

This morning (Tuesday), Herbert received his first dose of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine thanks to the huge effort across the NHS to protect people from the virus.

The NHS and its partners across Barnsley have been working hard to develop safe and effective ways to deliver a small amount of vaccines that will be available this week. GP practices across Barnsley have come together to set up a local vaccination service in Barnsley which will start by vaccinating those aged 80 and over on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.

Herbert Barker, a great grandad from Wombwell received his first of two doses of the vaccination, followed by a round of applause today. Asked why he wanted to get the vaccine he said: “Well I think it’s been something the whole world has been trying to get a vaccine for. Now it’s here, why not take it? I’m most looking forward to just getting rid of the virus.”

Mr Barker, a retired haulage contractor said that the weeks seem to fly by but he’s looking forward to getting back out and about walking and taking short breaks, which he regularly enjoyed up until the start of the pandemic. 

Mr Barker said that it’ll be a surprise to his family and friends that he’s the first person to get the vaccine in Barnsley: “I’ve not told them, so the first time they see it, it’ll probably be in the paper on Friday!”

GP practice teams have worked rapidly to redesign selected NHS sites in Barnsley which can put in place safe measures to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination. This particular vaccine needs to be stored at a certain temperature. There also needs to be enough space for people to be vaccinated as well as wait the short while after they receive the vaccination.

Over the coming weeks and months the NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine, starting with people aged 80 and over.

Dr Mehrban Ghani, Barnsley Healthcare Federation said: “GPs, nurses, healthcare assistants, pharmacists and other primary care staff are eager to play their part in protecting people against coronavirus when their time comes to offer the vaccine.

“As a GP I am proud to be part of this huge effort to protect our patients across the borough against the virus.”

Dr Nick Balac, chair of NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“This marks a really positive day for all of us across Barnsley.  I want to thank every single person who has been involved in getting the very first local vaccination service up and running.

“Along with the rest of the country, we’re starting with those most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and will be vaccinating those over 80. This is the start of what will take some months to deliver as more vaccine supplies become available.

“If we all stay vigilant in the weeks and months ahead, we will be able to look back at this as a decisive turning point in the battle against the virus.”

Julia Burrows, Director for Public Health, said: "This is a really positive and monumental step to protect vulnerable groups within our communities.

"We will be continuing to roll vaccinations out to priority groups in the coming months and will share updates around the program as we receive them.

"We must all continue to follow the rules to protect our families, friends and communities: Isolate and get a test at the first sign of any symptoms, including a new continuous cough; a high temperature; or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Follow the Hands, Face, Space guidance – regularly wash your hands, wear a face covering and stay two metres apart from people who are not part of your household."

People will be contacted by the NHS and offered the vaccine when it is their turn. In the meantime, people are asked not to contact NHS services regarding the COVID-19 vaccine during these already very busy times.