Health staff and volunteers have been praised for delivering almost 400,000 jabs since the first Covid-19 vaccination in Tameside and Glossop a year ago.
The vaccination drive has brought protection from Covid-19 across the area, saving hundreds of lives locally.
To celebrate the first anniversary, Tameside Council has created a video, which you can watch at the top of the page, to chart the vaccination programme’s milestones and thank those involved.
Last December, NHS Tameside & Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) worked quickly in partnership with GPs and Tameside Council to establish the first PCN vaccine hub in Hyde. Four more followed in PCNs for Ashton, Glossop (covering Gamesley), Denton (covering Droylsden and Audenshaw), and Stalybridge (covering Dukinfield and Mossley).
Mary Murray, 81, from Dukinfield, was the first person in Tameside and Glossop to be vaccinated at a drive-through service at Hyde Leisure Centre on 16 December 2020.
Mary, who has three children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren, said: “It was good to be the first. I was taken up with all the excitement and all the cameras.
“I think the vaccines are the only way to fight this virus. It’s the only way we can get back to normal again. I have had my booster and feel safer having had the vaccine.
“I think the vaccination programme has been brilliant, it’s been rolled out really well. The NHS have been wonderful, and everyone else involved in it. I would encourage people to have their vaccine as it’s only through that we’ll keep the virus at bay.”
Brian Schonhut, 85, Hyde ‘born and bred’, also made headlines when he turned up at the drive-through on his mobility scooter to be one of the first people to be vaccinated.
The retired builder, a cancer and stroke survivor who has four children, eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, is still going strong.
He said: “I felt very proud to be one of the first vaccinated and delighted to have it done. Everybody remarked about it.
“The vaccination programme has been absolutely brilliant. It’s given people security. I feel a lot better having had all my vaccinations. I would recommend that people go and get vaccinated.”
Protecting the most vulnerable has been the priority with every care home resident and staff member offered the jab in just three days last year, and all housebound residents aged over 70 and other vulnerable people, such as the homeless, also quickly vaccinated.
By March, residents were returning for their second dose and the vaccination drive reached the major milestone of 100,000 residents having received their life-saving jab.
Pop-up vaccination clinics began in April to make the vaccine more accessible with hundreds attending the first one at Ashton Central Mosque. These were followed by a Vaccine Van, walk-in clinics and then the Vaccination Bus to deliver jabs to the heart of communities and make it easier than ever to get vaccinated. Eligibility has since increased with everyone aged 12 and over now able to get their jab and boosters being provided.
NHS Tameside & Glossop CCG co-chairmen Dr Asad Ali and Dr Ashwin Ramachandra said: “It’s a year on from the first Covid-19 vaccine being delivered in Tameside and Glossop and we’re delighted with how successful the programme has been in administering nearly 400,000 vaccinations to bring protection to our residents and a way out of the pandemic.
“We’d like to thank each and every one of the staff and volunteers involved in the vaccination programme for all their hard work and dedication in getting the vaccine to so many people. And they’re continuing to deliver with our Vaccination Hubs working at pace to provide boosters, along with ongoing first and second doses, to protect as many people as possible.”
Tameside Council Executive Leader, Cllr Brenda Warrington, said: “Every single person involved in our vaccination drive has done an incredible job to provide so many vaccinations.
“It’s been truly impressive to witness the speed, efficiency and care with which the programme has been delivered to save lives, protect the most vulnerable first and make sure everyone can get their jabs. I’m immensely grateful to everyone involved.
“I’d also like to thank everyone who’s had their jab - and remember it’s never too late to get vaccinated too, and make sure you get your booster dose to protect yourself and others this winter. It really will make the difference in us beating this virus.”
Details of when local Vaccine Hubs are open to drop-in or book or destinations for the Vaccination Bus can be found at www.tameside.gov.uk/covidvaccine.