It was a historic weekend in Saxmundham as the Covid vaccine roll-out began. Our volunteers were rallied & organised to support the medical team & members of the community coming to be vaccinated.
Happily the first few sessions have been a huge success! Our team of volunteers, working shifts throughout the day have been responsible for marshalling the arrival, registering, processing and care of patients receiving their first dose of the Covid vaccine.
Until the vaccine is widely available, its administration has been prioritised to those who would most likely be worst affected should they catch the virus. This includes older folks, those clinically vulnerable and frontline health & social care workers. Whilst the vaccine has been available to frontline workers in Suffolk for some weeks now, Saxmundham Health and other local centres are now reaching out to the over 80s in our community to schedule appointments.
Two shots of the vaccine, delivered 21 days apart are needed for patients to experience maximum, long-term immunity, so this week’s jabs are only the start of the big task of vaccinating the community. Studies show that the vaccine, once both parts are administered is around 95% effective against Covid-19, meaning once enough people have had their jabs society should begin to experience much-missed normality.
The vaccine roll-out is a mammoth effort lead by the NHS. Busy doctor Surgeries around the county are urging people to await invitation for their appointment, rather than adding pressure to the system by calling to enquire. The operation to immunise communities is a complicated process with lots of moving parts and huge numbers of people involved. Availability of the vaccines themselves are subject to a number of logistical challenges, including supply, transportation and storage challenges.
Co-operation from the public and volunteer teams are vital to helping these clinics run smoothly. The feedback so far from the surgery have been that Saxmundham’s sessions are running like a well-oiled machine! GNS volunteers have been praised as “a dream to work with; helpful, polite and receiving nothing but positive comments from patients.” Our volunteers certainly feel they are part of history, which even made standing outside in the snow this weekend well worth while!