A ‘lovely early Christmas present’ and ‘an honour’ is how Registered Nurse, Jane Brown, described her experience of being the first member of staff at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) to receive the PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Jane works in the Day Surgery Unit at Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal (WGH) and was overjoyed to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at Furness General Hospital (FGH) at 3pm on Tuesday 22 December.
Jane, 60, who has four children and three grandchildren, said: “It is an honour to be the first person at the Trust to be vaccinated. I got the phone call on Monday and they asked if I could come the next day. I said: ‘Great!’
“To everyone, I say go for it! My hope is that, in time, the whole population will have the vaccination. Having the vaccine has given me hope for the future. When I first heard the vaccine had been passed, I was clapping my hands to say ‘well done!’
“As I’m a nurse, I haven’t seen my children or grandchildren for months because I haven’t wanted to pass anything on to them. I didn’t see my new grandson when he was first born. I eventually got to see him when he was five weeks old but sadly I couldn’t cuddle him. My children are a lot happier now that I’ve had it. They are looking forward to when they can have it too.”
Jane’s mum is 87 years old and lives in Leicester and she hasn’t been able to see her for many months.
Jane said: “My mum hasn’t left her house since the 10th of February of this year. My sister and my brother take food to her and I speak to her on the phone. I’ll now be encouraging my mum to vet vaccinated.
“I was absolutely fine when I had the vaccination. It didn’t hurt and everyone was lovely. I’m very glad that I’ve had it. I’ve done everything by the book to keep myself and everyone else safe.”
Jane joined UHMBT as a Care support Worker (CSW) in 2003 at WGH and got a secondment in 2007 to study Nursing at the University of Cumbria. She qualified in 2010 and worked on the Acute Stroke Unit (ASU) at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary for three years before returning to WGH to work on the Day Surgery Unit.
Jane added: “I’m going to spend Christmas with my family in our ‘bubble’. Having the vaccination has been a lovely early Christmas present! Now, having had the first part of the vaccine, I’m hoping that I will be able to see my mother in the not too distant future.”
The COVID-19 programme at UHMBT is part of the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS. In line with national guidance, UHMBT is offering the vaccine to patients over 80 years of age, care workers and staff, starting with colleagues who are at higher risk from COVID-19.
Since the PfizerBioNTech vaccine got the green light from regulators, health service staff have been working around the clock to manage the enormous logistical challenge of giving out the vaccine.
Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive of UHMBT, said: “We are delighted to be offering the vaccine at Furness General Hospital.
“We’ve been working closely with local health and care partners to administer the vaccine in a safe and secure environment. I urge everyone who is eligible to take up the offer of the vaccine as soon as they are offered it.
“I’d like to thank our incredibly dedicated staff and our partners for going the extra mile and getting our vaccination programme underway in a short period of time. A huge amount of preparation and coordination has been needed to ensure the safe and effective running of this programme.
“Our teams will be working throughout the festive period to vaccinate as many people as possible and keep them safe from COVID-19. There has been a fantastic team effort throughout the pandemic and this is continuing with our vaccination programme.”
Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England and Improvement, added: “Hospitals have now cared for more than 190,000 seriously ill Covid-19 patients and have seen beds fill up again in recent weeks.
“The deployment of this vaccine marks a decisive turning point in the battle with the pandemic. NHS vaccination programmes which have successfully helped overcome tuberculosis, polio, and smallpox, now turn their focus to coronavirus. NHS staff are proud to be leading the way as the first health service in the world to begin vaccination with this COVID jab.”
Local residents will receive an invitation to have their COVID-19 vaccine. For most people this will be a letter, either from their GP or the NHS. This letter will include all the information people will need to book appointments, including their NHS number.
Residents are asked not to contact the NHS to get an appointment until they have received this letter.
Information on the vaccine is available on the NHS.UK website.
Jane Brown is delighted to have her COVID-19 vaccination from Matron Clare Hill at Furness General Hospital
Notes to Editors:
People aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be prioritised to receive the jab, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.
People will receive an invitation to have their vaccine. For most people this will be a letter, either from their GP or the national NHS. This letter will include all the information people will need to book appointments, including their NHS number.
Residents are asked not to contact the NHS to get an appointment until you get this letter.