ICU Senior Sister Ly Fletcher was accompanied by a round of applause, smiles and the odd tear today when she became the first member of staff to have her Covid-19 vaccination at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Covid-19 vaccines arrived at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust yesterday morning as it geared up to be the first site in the Black Country and West Birmingham to start administering them to the over 80s and healthcare workers.
Ly, who has worked for Walsall Healthcare for 15 years, said: “I always have my flu jab and I wanted to have the Covid-19 jab too to protect everyone – my patients, my colleagues, and my own family.
“Working on ICU throughout the pandemic we’ve seen first-hand how serious this virus is and I want to do everything I can to stop any more families suffering as a result of it. It has been quite emotional actually being the first member of staff to be vaccinated; it’s a big day for everyone involved.”
Christopher Simmonds, Governance Technical Manager, unpacked the vaccines yesterday and did the relevant verification checks before placing them into the freezer to be stored between – 60°c and – 80°c
He said: “It’s an historical day for the trust as Walsall Healthcare is one of the first in the country to take receipt of the new vaccine. It’s actually quite an emotional moment to stop and reflect on the impact immunisation will have will have and I am proud to play my part in this important programme.”
Trevor Kirby, aged 81, was the first patient to have the vaccination today – and he’s used to firsts having been one of the first to have the polio vaccination back in the 19602.
The former heavy plant and HGV technician from Tipton said: “We want to eradicate this virus and I think it’s important to be vaccinated. We need to look after each other and this is a good way to do that.”
The order in which people will receive the vaccine is decided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which has advised that age is the single greatest risk of mortality from COVID-19. After over 80+ year olds, priority healthcare staff will be amongst the first to be vaccinated.
People are being reminded that they should not come to the hospital for a vaccine; those who need to have theirs will be contacted and an appointment made