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Army of volunteers helps support Manchester vaccination programme

More than 1,000 people have come forward to support efforts in Manchester to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of patients

Last week the first of six new community vaccination hubs opened, with the Newton Heath Health Centre in North Manchester opening its doors. 

This week a further five will open across the city: Irish World Heritage Centre, Cheetham Hill from 14th January; The Vallance Centre, Brunswick from 14th January; The Grange Community Centre, Beswick from 15th January; Chancellors Hotel, Fallowfield from 15th January; and The Jain Community Centre, Longsight from 16th January.

They join the two centres which are already up and running: the Woodhouse Park Active Lifestyle Centre in Wythenshawe which went live on 16th December, and the Newton Heath Health Centre on 9th January.

To support efforts, a large number of Manchester volunteers will assist the roll out of the vaccine.

So far 1,015 people have come forward to help marshal the vaccination sites, and ensure that the project runs as smoothly as possible.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Manchester are set to be immunised over the coming months.

In addition to community vaccination efforts work is also underway in the city’s hospitals, as well as pharmacies, GP surgeries and the regional mass vaccination centre at the Etihad Stadium.

Local GPs will be contacting patients about getting a vaccination in the order set out at a national level – with the most vulnerable first. You do not need to contact them.

You may also receive a letter from the NHS offering you the option of attending the Great Manchester Mass Vaccination Centre at the Etihad Tennis Centre in Manchester, or a local pharmacy.

Following the expansion of the community vaccination scheme, patients across the city have been receiving their first jab.

One such person is 92-year-old Dena Murphy.

Photo: Mark Waugh

Green-fingered Dena Murphy is well known for her active role in the community, which saw her growing enough fruit and veg to feed a lunch club, and for helping young former offenders back on the right path.

And now, the 92-year-old former nurse wants to give confidence to others after she was one of the first people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on the opening day (10th Jan) of the Newton Heath vaccination site.

“In my day we didn’t have vaccines and it was all too easy to die from illnesses that today we don’t even think about like measles and mumps – because we can have a vaccination,” she said.

“This jab is no different. I feel absolutely fine, with no side effects and I’d urge everyone to get it.

“And for those people who don’t want to wear masks or follow the rules I’d say I hope that none of your family become ill.”

David Regan, Manchester’s Director of Public Health, said we are “in the early stages of one of the biggest and most ambitious public health initiatives ever seen in Manchester.

“Every single person involved in the vaccination process, from the clinicians giving it, to the drivers delivering doses to Manchester, to the volunteers who will keep vaccination sites safe has a hugely significant role to play.  

“The next few months will be critical if we are to turn the tide against this virus.

“I would ask anyone who is notified about getting a vaccine to keep their appointment.

“Until then the most important things we can all keep doing is maintaining social distancing, hand washing and sticking to national health guidelines.”

 “So many Mancunians have gone above and beyond since the beginning of this pandemic. We are asking for one last effort as we push to vaccinate as many residents as possible.  

 The vaccination programme is “the largest the city has ever seen and we are keen to see it rolled out as quickly across the city for as many people as possible,” said Councillor Bev Craig.

“We can all do our bit either by getting the jab, by volunteering at one of our vaccination sites, or encouraging our friends and families to take it up when it’s offered. 

“Vaccination will be the best tool we have if we are to return to normality and I am confident our incredible local healthcare teams rise to this new challenge and succeed.”

Dr. Manisha Kumar, medical director of Manchester Health and Care Commissioning, said: “My colleagues are working tirelessly to roll out one of the largest and most important public health programmes in history.

“To successfully vaccinate as many people as possible will require a huge effort on all our parts, but I am confident we will be able to achieve this.”

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