As January ended we met our ambitious target to vaccinate older care home residents and their carers. An achievement made possible thanks to the dedication and commitment of our vaccination teams across Sussex. I know everyone with loved ones in care homes will be extremely relieved to hear the news.
This has been achieved by roving services going to every home, meanwhile in parallel, our GP-led vaccination services and hospital-hubs have continued to press on. So much so that we’ve now vaccinated almost nine in ten over 80s and more than half of the over 70s across the UK. Meaning we are on track to meet our target of offering the top four priority groups a vaccine by mid-February.
The scale of the vaccination programme is immense, with 1,400 vaccination sites and an 80,000 strong vaccination workforce. There’s hopefully still at least one more to come in central Chichester. I have been pressing our local healthcare leaders to look into delivery of the vaccine through at a Chichester City centre site. They have committed to revising their plan and are re-looking into options. I am expecting to hear more on the new site this week and will update my website when I know more, www.gilliankeegan.com/coronavirus-vaccine
What’s more, the UK has now secured early access to over 400 million doses of vaccines for 2021 and 2022, including the additional 40 million vaccines doses from Valneva we ordered this week. Better still, much of it is being produced right here; the Oxford-AstraZenca vaccine is manufactured in Oxford, Staffordshire and Wrexham; the Novovax vaccine is made in Teesside and the Valneva vaccine, subject to approval, will be produced in Livingston, Scotland.
Despite all the progress made, the virus dealt another blow this week, with the loss of our national healthcare hero, Captain Sir Tom Moore. Captain Moore’s efforts throughout the pandemic inspired us as a nation and acted as a beacon of hope and positivity the world over. The laps of his garden saved countless lives by raising over £32million for our NHS. At the age of 100, this was an extraordinary achievement and his remarkable life will not be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time – as I know are the entire nations. He was truly the best of us.