Published on: 4 January 2021
South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is the first acute and community Trust in the North East to start vaccinating its frontline staff after receiving the newly approved Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine this morning.
The Trust started vaccinating staff this afternoon at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital. Tracy Barnett from the Trust’s Community Stroke Team was the very first to be vaccinated at South Tyneside District Hospital today. She said: “It’s such a wonderful privilege to be able to receive this vaccine after the monumental work of the scientists developing this.
“As a clinical member of staff it’s given me a lot of reassurance of having that first line of defence against COVID-19. It’s also providing a great moral boost to the staff, both clinical and non-clinical, who have been working tirelessly during this pandemic. I hope that it gives reassurance to our patients and their families that we are now receiving this vaccination and hopefully this is the start of returning to some form of normality.”
The Trust has seen increasing numbers of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in its hospitals in South Tyneside and Sunderland and implemented a number of measures before Christmas to try and reduce further spread of the virus. Whilst this is only the first batch of the vaccine to be received, it marks an important step in the fight against coronavirus and is excellent news for patients and staff at the Trust.
Trust Chief Executive, Ken Bremner, said: “We are delighted to be able to start the New Year on a positive and be the very first acute and community Trust in the region to receive the new vaccine. There is absolutely no doubt that the past few months have been tremendously difficult for our staff and we had a very busy run up to Christmas with the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 patients back to where they were in the first wave.
“Our priority has always been to continue to provide excellent, safe patient care for everyone who needs it. At times this has been a challenge, but our teams have gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic and news of the vaccine will no doubt come as a huge relief and give us all a little hope. Clearly this is just the start of the process, but we are confident and well prepared to roll out the vaccine to all staff and eligible patients in the coming weeks and months.
“In the meantime, we need the support of the public now more than ever. Please continue to following restrictions, wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing wherever possible. There is certainly light at the end of the tunnel, but we all must continue to do our bit to stop the spread of the virus.”
Over 650 clinically extremely vulnerable and frontline staff from the Trust have already received the vaccination thanks to GP hubs in South Tyneside, Sunderland and Easington.
The NHS continues to face tough winter pressures and those with minor illness and injury are asked to think pharmacy, GP and NHS111 first.
Member of the public who are eligible for the vaccine will be contacted directly and are reminded to wait until it’s their turn and not contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.