The first staff at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust were given the Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine this morning –with hundreds more in line to be inoculated in the coming weeks.
Trust Chief Executive Cara Charles-Barks hailed the launch as a significant step forward in the hospital’s fight against COVID-19.
She said in a message to staff: “I’m so pleased that we can offer you this protection, as your health and well being as front line responders to this virus is of utmost importance.
“Our aim is to vaccinate all our staff by the spring and you will all be contacted when it’s your turn to receive the jab. Everyone matters at the RUH and we are all working extremely hard to make sure that we can vaccinate you all.”
One of the first staff to receive a jab was Sheena Brown, a Staff Nurse and former ward Sister who has worked in the NHS for 48 years. She said: “It feels great to have had the vaccine. I’m a vaccinator as well, so I’ve been here since 8am today helping to vaccinate staff.
“I think it’s very important that people get the jab when they are offered it. The country is going through such a difficult time and this will help save lives and stop the NHS getting overwhelmed.
“My message would be –please get the jab, for yourself, your family and the NHS.”
Another member of staff getting the vaccination was Dr Andrew Finlay. He said: “It’s very exciting to be one of the first to be getting the jab. I would encourage everyone to get the vaccination when they are offered it, and I will be encouraging my family and friends to get it.
“It makes is safer for me, for my patients and for the colleagues I work with.”
Peer Vaccinator Joelle Feghali, one of scores of volunteer peer vaccinators helping with the roll out, said: “I feel very privileged to be here today, and have been vaccinated myself. I’ve had COVID-19 and was very unwell, so I was keen to get vaccinated and help protect the people around me.”
Julie Stone,Lead Nurse, said: “We’ve been very busy –staff have been very keen to come along and get their jabs. We’re rolling out the vaccinations across the hospital and in time all of our staff will receive one.
“I’m very proud to be involved with such an important project. The whole team has been amazing.”
The Trust is prioritising its most vulnerable staff first –those who are vulnerable due to their age, health condition or because of their potential exposure to the virus because of where they work in the hospital.
Cara Charles-Barks encouraged all staff to take up the vaccine opportunity and said: “I know it’s been a challenging winter so far. This vaccine offers us the very real hope that we will be able to return to normality during 2021 and is the best start to the New Year we could hope for.”