Another 900 patients were vaccinated at the Altrincham Health and Wellbeing Centre on Saturday as the local vaccination programme moved into the over-65s category – with another 900 booked in for today.
The Altrincham Healthcare Alliance PCN – which includes Altrincham Medical Practice, Park Medical Practice, Shay Lane Medical Centre (Drs Kelman, Cranston, Naylor, Pathak and Haslam), St John’s Medical Centre and West Timperley Medical Centre – is now prioritising its 5,500 patients in cohort 6, which is defined as all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions.
All those in the first four priority categories – including care home residents and workers, over-70s, health workers and clinically vulnerable people – have been invited to receive their first jab.
On Saturday, one of the over-65s receiving their vaccination was Jayne Vandermeersch from Hale, who had contracted coronavirus last March.
Jayne, 66, said: “At the start of the pandemic I had three horrendous weeks struggling with a mix of high temperature, tight chest as well as no taste. I was really unwell. Having tested positive with a ‘moderate’ dose, I can only imagine how awful a severe case is – my heart goes out to those who are suffering – and so I’ve been particularly keen to have the vaccine.”
Margaret and John Carolan from Timperley, 68 and 69 respectively, also received their vaccinations at the weekend.
Margaret said: “We’re really hoping this is the start of a new chapter for everyone. It would be wonderful to think we could look at planning a celebration for our joint 70th birthday next year.”
And Geoffrey Cooper, 66, from Altrincham, added: “Having the vaccine hopefully gives us all a chance to look forward.”
NHS England advice is that PCN-led sites should now focus on cohort 6 – vulnerable individuals between 16 and 64 – due to the relationship between GP practices and those with long term conditions.
Those remaining over-65s in cohort 5 who have not yet received an appointment will shortly receive an invitation from the National Booking Service to attend a vaccination centre.
Dr Kate Jennings, GP Partner at Altrincham Medical Practice and Co-Clinical Director of Altrincham Healthcare Alliance PCN, explained: “We have more than 5,500 patients in cohort 6, which is defined as all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. This includes those patients with severe asthma, diabetes, morbid obesity as well as chronic diseases such as heart, kidney, liver or neurological diseases.
“We’re hoping the vaccine supply will be more consistent to enable us not only to work our way through all the patient cohorts, but also factor in those coming for second doses at some point. Ideally we can eventually move to a system where we can order the numbers we need. This will enable us to plan clinics and give patients a bit of reassurance too.”
Dr Jennings added: “It’s truly overwhelming and very humbling being part of this service. Every patient is delighted to receive the vaccination and some of the stories from those who have been affected by this brutal virus are heart-breaking. I’m proud to be part of the delivery of this potentially life-saving service and would like to thank all my colleagues, volunteers and our wonderful patients for their continued support.”
A further 900 patients are due to attend a clinic today after Altrincham Healthcare Alliance received a delivery of the Pfizer vaccine yesterday. Next week the hope is to vaccinate a further 1,500 patients.