GP practices across County Durham have reached a major milestone after administering 500,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine across the county.
The significant half million mark was reached at Chester-Le-Street Primary Care Network (PCN) vaccination hub, just five months after the vaccine roll-out was launched in December 2020.
The PCN, one of 13 across the county, is operated by staff from Bridge End Surgery, Sacriston Medical Group, Middle Chare Medical Group, Great Lumley Surgery, Pelton and Fellrose Medical Group, Cestria Health Centre and The Villages Medical Group.
Chester-Le-Street PCN clinical director, Dr Rob Bowron, said: “Reaching half a million vaccinations is an incredible achievement.
“I’m sure I speak on behalf of all County Durham PCNs, delivering this historic vaccination programme, when I say without our staff, patients and our clinical leaders at County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) we would not have been as successful as we have been in making such a difference in the fight against Covid-19.
“It shows just how incredible our NHS primary care is and I would encourage anyone who has not yet had their vaccination, and is eligible, to contact their GP surgery and play their part.”
Chester-Le-Street PCN has delivered over 40,600 vaccinations to patients, from a population of 64,819, with 93.9 percent of people over the age of 50 receiving their first dose and 67.8 percent having their second.
Gill Smith, Business Manager, Chester le Street PCN and NHS Chester le Street Health Limited said: “The success of our vaccination programme has been made possible for two reasons, firstly the collaborative effort of our seven practices working together and our wonderful patient population who have turned up on mass, in all types of weather, since day one – really understanding the national importance of receiving their vaccination.
“From our GPs to our nurses, pharmacists to admin staff, social prescriber link worker to domestics and our wonderful volunteers, everyone’s efforts have been tireless, and they continue to be amazing role models for Primary Care – although not possible many of our staff have said that they would work 24 hours a day to ensure our population is vaccinated.
“We have also witnessed some very touching moments, with friends and family reunited after months of isolation, receiving their vaccines together – which will hopefully bring some normality in the months ahead!
“Our waiting room often feels like a social club and we regularly get asked what time the bingo will start. Patients also continue to show their appreciation to our staff with mounds of biscuits, chocolate and cakes – and every card, email or word of thanks is greatly appreciated by all our staff.”
Andrea Robert-Shaw, 55, of Chester-Le-Street, received her second vaccination from Dr Bowron at the Pelton and Fellrose Medical Group vaccination hub, marking the 500,000th jab given across the county.
“My husband Keith and I haven’t been able to visit my 87-year-old dad in his house yet as we were waiting for everyone to get their second vaccine,” said Andrea.
“Hopefully it won’t be long now until we can go round.
“Half a million jabs is an incredible achievement. I think everyone has a responsibility to take up the vaccine when they are eligible, to enable us all to return to a more normal life as soon as possible.”