Residents and staff from Beaumont Court Care Home were among the very first to have the COVID-19 vaccination at the borough's newly opened vaccination centre on Tuesday 15 December.
Eighty-two-year-old Rosemary Toes, who has lived in Tower Hamlets for 20 years, and 63-year old ex-marine George Gray (pictured) were among the first in line and both were very excited to receive their vaccination at the Queen Mary University Arts Centre based centre.
Days after receiving the green light to set up a vaccination centre on behalf of most of the GP practices in Tower Hamlets, local healthcare provider, the GP Care Group today started administering the COVID-19 vaccination to some of our oldest residents in Tower Hamlets.
Vaccinations at the centre are strictly by appointment, a clear plan has been put in place to offer the vaccine by priority groups according to age and potential risk order. Those that are eligible at this stage, aged over 80, are being contacted by the GP Care Group on behalf of their GP Practice.
There has been a fantastic response so far, with more than 200 appointments booked within the first hour alone after responding to the invitation from the Care Group. All those who are vaccinated will have a second booster jab around 21 days later. Appointments will be made available in batches of 975, those which have not been able to book in for this week will be contacted in future weeks.
The GP Care Group welcomed the news that the vaccine had been approved as it is the best way to protect the most vulnerable people from coronavirus and has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives. Tower Hamlets Care Home residents and staff are due to be brought into the vaccination centre because the sensitive nature of the vaccine means that it shouldn't be moved due to complex storage and transportation issues.
Aside from the good news that we now have a COVID vaccine to offer Tower Hamlets residents, this experience has been another wonderful example of collaboration and partnership in the borough.
Tracy Cannell, Joint Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets GP Care Group said: "We are delighted to finally be able to begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to Tower Hamlets residents. This process has seen genuine teamwork between our GP practices and other partners with the borough's local healthcare system. In addition, Queen Mary University has been incredibly supportive and helpful in establishing the centre. We are also grateful to the more than 60 staff who have volunteered to assist as COVID-19 Vaccinators."
While the process to begin offering the vaccine to residents has begun, the threat of COVID-19 remains. Residents are encouraged to continue to abide by all the social distancing, face covering and hand hygiene rules to protect family and loved ones during this festive period.