The first UK vaccinations have been taking place the past few days – and now the final preparations are being made for Manchester’s first lot of patients to be given the COVID-19 vaccine.
From Wednesday 16th December, Manchester residents aged 80 and above who are able to travel will be invited to receive the vaccine at the Active Lifestyle Centre in Wythenshawe.
The Wythenshawe site was identified as the best initial location to roll out community-based vaccination in Manchester, with additional Primary Care Network sites to be announced in the coming weeks.
A secondary booster jab will be given to attendees 21 days after receiving their first injection.
No vaccine will be stored on site.
Residents will be notified they are eligible to get a vaccine by their GP, either by phone or letter, and arrangements will be made to get the vaccine to people in this age group who may have difficulty travelling or who are housebound.
As announced by the Government on 8th December, local hospitals have also begun their own vaccine rollout for admitted patients as well as outpatients in their care.
Nationwide, vaccinations will be distributed based on a priority system with older people, NHS and care staff being vaccinated first. This will be followed by at-risk medical groups and then the population at large.
With the vaccine rollout being a gradual one, residents are reminded that the best way of fighting the virus is to keep maintaining social distancing practices, washing hands regularly and wearing a mask.
“From day one our priority has been to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19,” said David Regan, Manchester’s Director of Public Health.
“The successful development of an effective and safe vaccine will allow us to save thousands of lives over the coming months.
“This is, however, just the first step and we will not see results overnight.
“Until the vaccine is being widely distributed our first line of defence will still be quick and accurate testing, as well as adhering to social distancing, good hygiene and the wearing of masks.”
Councillor Bev Craig said the coming weeks will be crucial for Manchester as we work to get this vaccine to the people who need it most.
“This is the first bit of light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel,” said Bev, stressing that we do face “a long road” ahead.
“Our priority will be protecting our older residents, medically vulnerable people and our NHS and care workers who have been putting themselves at risk this entire year.
“As the vaccine is rolled out we will still need to be vigilant and take the precautions which have become commonplace since March.
“Mancunians have shown just how resilient they can be and I have no doubt this resolve will continue.”