Leeds council 'blown away' by city response to rolling out Covid vaccinations

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City officials have been "blown away" by how Leeds has responded since the Covid vaccination programme began, with staff working hard to deliver jabs to as many people as possible.

The vaccination rollout began in Leeds on December 8, the same day that Margaret Keenan - then 90 - became the first UK recipient of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

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Those aged over 80, people living or working in care homes and NHS staff have been the focus of initial efforts to ensure those most at risk are vaccinated first.

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The Thackray Museum of Medicine has become one of the city's vaccination centres. Picture: Danny Lawson/PAThe Thackray Museum of Medicine has become one of the city's vaccination centres. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA
The Thackray Museum of Medicine has become one of the city's vaccination centres. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

But, as of Monday, vaccinations teams can now start to invite those aged over 70 and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to get the first of their two jabs.

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “Since the first vaccine was delivered in Leeds just over a month ago, we have been blown away by how the city has responded to rolling it out.

"It is thanks to the tireless work of our partners that so many of our most vulnerable residents have been able to get the jab, offering them vital protection from the virus, and we are delighted to see even more people being invited to be vaccinated.

“We know those over 80 who are still waiting to be vaccinated are both keen and anxious for an update, but we would ask them and their families not to worry because we will get to them shortly. After that, we will be prioritising over 70s and clinically extremely vulnerable.

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“This past month only marks the start of the vaccination programme in Leeds, and staff are working hard to vaccinate as many people as possible in a safe and swift manner.”

By January 11, more than 40,000 people in Leeds had received their first dose of a Covid vaccine - the equivalent of around five per cent of the city's total population.

No further figures have been provided at a local authority level since then but regional data shows Yorkshire and the North East shows 433,045 doses had now been administered by January 10.

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The NHS England statistics show 204,140 first doses had been given to over 80s, with 50,125 second doses administered to people in that group.

While the Government guidance is now that second doses be delivered within three months to ensure more people receive their first dose and the increased protection it offers as soon as possible, the position had originally been that second doses be given within three weeks. This only changed in early January.

The figures also show 166,554 first doses have been given to those under 80, with 12,226 second doses also given.

It comes as the Yorkshire Evening Post continues its A Shot in the Arm campaign focused on the national vaccination programme.

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Run alongside sister titles across JPIMedia, it urges Prime Minister Boris Johnson to deploy the country’s network of 11,000 pharmacies to ensure that every citizen is only a short walk away from a vaccination centre.

Our campaign also requests further reassurance for local communities from the Government and more easy-to-access information on the vaccine programme and its progress.

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