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NHS marks second anniversary of life-saving Covid-19 jab with special tribute to NHS staff, pharmacies and volunteers

The NHS in the Midlands is marking the second-year anniversary of the Covid vaccine rollout by paying a special tribute to the monumental effort of NHS staff, pharmacies and volunteers who have delivered more than 27 million vaccinations since the campaign began on 8th December, 2020.

The biggest vaccine campaign in NHS history began in the Midlands exactly two years ago at University Hospital, Coventry, when May Parsons, a Modern Matron for Respiratory Services at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, administered the first vaccine outside of clinical trials to Margaret ‘Maggie’ Keenan.

Speaking about the anniversary, May Parsons said: “Vaccinating Maggie with the first approved Covid-19 vaccine was a wonderful moment that I am so proud of – but that was only the beginning. That moment kickstarted the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in our history. It prevented hospital admissions, got the country back to normal and saved lives.

“All of the staff in hospitals and our communities went above and beyond during the pandemic to look after patients despite the risks the virus posed to themselves.

“We would not be where we are today without the efforts of the NHS and the way that everyone went above and beyond to roll out the vaccine at speed and precision.”

Two years on, the Covid vaccine has now saved 112,000 lives and averted 24 million cases of Covid in the United Kingdom.  Volunteers in the Midlands have contributed more than 95,000 shifts to the vaccination programme, covering over 420 sites which equates to over 450,000 volunteer hours.

More than 435 sites have been used in the West Midlands including Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium; Villa Park; Edgbaston Cricket Ground; Black Country Living Museum; Ludlow Racecourse; The Indoor Bowls Centre, Shrewsbury; St Peter’s Church in Worcester and the Green Lane Masjid in Small Heath, Birmingham.

Roz Lindridge, the NHS England director responsible for overseeing the vaccination programme across the Midlands, said: “Two years after the Midlands made history by delivering the first Covid jab in the world, the NHS in the region has now delivered a fantastic 27 million vaccinations.

“NHS staff, GPs, nurses and Pharmacists have worked tirelessly to protect the lives of millions of people and I would like to thank each and every one of them for the vital part they have played.

“We are deeply grateful to all the volunteers who stepped forward from all walks of life and played a pivotal role to help protect the most vulnerable. Over 1,000 people across the Midlands who joined the vaccination programme have decided to stay on in the health service in other roles, which was a huge boost to the region’s workforce.

“It remains important though that everyone eligible comes forward for the jab ahead of winter, when we expect Covid-19 and other respiratory viruses to be even more prevalent. Don’t let your festive celebrations be spoiled by illness - come forward for your booster as soon as possible.”

More than three million people have benefited from the vital protection that the autumn booster provides since the latest phase of the campaign was launched on 12th September 2022. The booster offers protection against Omicron variants as well as the original Covid variants.

People aged 50 and over, the severely immunosuppressed and frontline health and care workers are still being urged to get vaccinated without delay ahead of a potential ‘twindemic’ of Covid-19 and flu this winter.

People can book their latest dose through the national booking system or by calling 119. You can also get a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from a walk-in site without an appointment. People can find their nearest walk-in sites on the NHS website.

Key milestones of the vaccine campaign in the Midlands

8 December 2020: 6:31am: The world’s first COVID-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial is delivered at University Hospital, Coventry to Margaret Keenan.

14 December 2020: The Midlands’ first vaccine in a GP practice is delivered at Feldon Lane Surgery, Halesowen.

4 January 2021: The Midlands’ first AstraZeneca vaccine is delivered.

14 January 2021: The Midlands begins delivering vaccines in pharmacies.

27 January 2021: The Midlands becomes the first NHS region to deliver one million vaccines.

1 February 2021: The vaccine is offered to all eligible care home residents in the Midlands.

13 April 2021: The First Moderna vaccine delivered in the Midlands.

27 May 2021: 10 million vaccines delivered in the Midlands.

18 June 2021:  All adults are invited for their life-saving COVID-19 vaccine.

August 2021: Over 256,000 16 and 17-year-olds across the Midlands are invited to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

September 2021: The Midlands’ first booster vaccine was delivered.

21 December 2021: 20 million vaccines carried out in the region.

March 2022: Spring boosters launched

April 2022: All five to 11-year-olds in the Midlands able to get their COVID-19 vaccine

15 June 2022: 23 million vaccines delivered in the Midlands

September 2022: The Autumn Booster campaign is launched to protect the vulnerable ahead of winter.

November 2022: NHS delivers over three million autumn boosters in the Midlands

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