On 16 December 2020, exactly one year ago today, Knowsley’s very first COVID-19 vaccines were administered at vaccination centres in Huyton and Kirkby.
The first people to be vaccinated were hospital patients aged over 80, as well as some healthcare staff. This historic moment came just days after the first COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer/BioTech) was approved for use by UK medicines regulator MHRA on 2 December.
Since then, the COVID-19 vaccination programme has delivered over 156,000 vaccines to people living in Knowsley – including 106,732 first doses, 98,200 second doses, 49,405 boosters and 800 third doses to people who are severely immunosuppressed.
Dr Andrew Pryce, local GP and Chair of NHS Knowsley CCG said:
“It’s incredible to see what we’ve accomplished together over the past year, since those very first vaccinations were given. One year on, 77.3% of all adults in Knowsley have now had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 92.5% of our most vulnerable patients in the borough have been fully vaccinated against COVID.
“This is a huge achievement, which has undoubtedly saved many lives. We really want to say a huge thank you to all those NHS staff, vaccinators and volunteers who have been working tirelessly over the past 12 months to help make this possible, especially as they are being called upon again to ensure the people of Knowsley receive their booster dose this winter.”
COVID-19 vaccination has been the most ambitious and largest scale immunisation programme ever delivered by the NHS in its 73-year history, covering the entire adult population in under a year.
Some key achievements of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Knowsley over the past 12 months include:
- Permanent local vaccination sites have been set up in different communities across Knowsley, led by local Primary Care Networks (PCNs) which are groups of GP practices working together, as well as community pharmacies
- Hospital-based vaccination hubs have also supported vaccinations for health and social care staff, as well as patient vaccinations.
- A roving vaccination team was established to provide home visits for housebound patients, and other vulnerable groups.
- Over 1,000 people with a learning disability and over 1000 people with severe mental illness were supported to access vaccinations across Knowsley.
- Staff and residents in all of Knowsley’s care home settings have had all their first, second, and booster doses completed, supported by visits from Primary Care Networks.
- The booster programme is now well underway across the borough, with 70% of all eligible adults having received their booster dose so far.
- School-based vaccination clinics provided by Mersey Care’s school immunisation teams have visited every secondary school across the borough this term to provide easy access to vaccines for all 12-15 year olds.
- Extra ‘pop-up’ clinics in temporary venues, such as community centres, have helped to improve access to vaccination amongst communities where take up was lower.
- The vaccination bus, in partnership between the local NHS, Knowsley Council and Arriva, provided community outreach events across multiple locations and made a huge contribution, bringing vaccines to people who might not have been vaccinated otherwise.
Cllr Christine Bannon, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, said: “We have supported our partners in the health sector with the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and it’s truly remarkable what has been achieved in just a year.
“We know that the vaccination offers not only us, but those around us, the best protection from this virus and it’s important that when you are contacted, you make an appointment to get vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and there are now new variants to the virus that are circulating locally and nationally. That’s why it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated and get the best possible protection.”
Anyone eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination can get one now by booking an appointment or finding their nearest drop-in clinic – go to: www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119.
The NHS vaccination programme will also offer every adult the chance to book a COVID-19 booster vaccine. People aged 18 or over are eligible for a booster jab three or more months after their second dose, to help give them longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and better defence against the Omicron variant.
As more information becomes available, updates will be provided here: https://www.knowsleyccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccination/
Many people who can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine are eligible for the annual flu vaccine to help keep them well this winter too. You can find out if you’re eligible here.
For more information on getting your COVID-19 vaccine or booster, please visit: www.knowsleyccg.nhs.uk.