David and Thelma Senior had ‘the best Valentine’s Day present ever’ this year as they joined hundreds of thousands of other over 70 year olds in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw who have now received a COVID-19 vaccine.
The couple had their vaccination on Valentine’s Day and just 24 hours later it was confirmed that everyone in the top four priority groups across the region have now either had or been offered a vaccination.
David said: “We have been married for 53 years but this was by far the best Valentine’s Day present we could have asked for. It is such a relief that we have had the vaccination and we would urge everyone to come forward as soon as it is their turn. It was great that we both had our jabs at the same time but we won’t be dropping our guard just yet as we know we have to wait before we can meet up with the rest of our family. We would feel awful it we gave anyone the virus, so we are happy to be patient for a bit longer.”
NHS organisations across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw have now vaccinated or given an appointment to everyone in the top four most vulnerable groups which includes those aged over 70, clinically extremely vulnerable residents, care home residents and staff as well as frontline health and social care staff.
From this week, people aged 65 to 69 are being sent a letter from the NHS national booking service inviting them to book an appointment to receive a jab. Primary care vaccination centres will also begin calling Clinically Vulnerable residents.
Jackie Pederson, Accountable Officer at Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group and joint-lead for the Covid-19 vaccination programme in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw said: “It is fantastic that we have reached this next milestone and protected so many of our most vulnerable residents against this awful virus. Hundreds of colleagues across primary care and partner NHS organisations locally supported by volunteers have worked tirelessly since December to give this staggering number of vaccinations. Many have given their time on days off, weekends and evenings to ensure as many people could be vaccinated as possible.
Kirsten Major, Chief Executive at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and joint-lead for the Covid-19 vaccinations programme in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw said: “This is great news and our thanks go out to all those involved in delivering the vaccination programme. To see the relief in people’s faces after they have received their jab is truly humbling and reminds us of how challenging the current situation has been for so many people. We still have a high number of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals and so even if you have had a vaccination it is important to still follow the current guidance because the jab will prevent you from becoming as sick as you might have done without it, but we do not yet know if it prevents transmission to others.”
Anyone aged 70 and over who has not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 and who would like to be has been asked to contact the NHS by visiting www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.
Those who are aged 65 to 70 years old are asked not to contact the NHS and to continue to wait to be contacted about their appointment.