This week I was delighted to see the fantastic news that more than 30 million people have been vaccinated, representing more than half of all adults in the UK who have now had their first dose.
Here at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust we have made a huge contribution to those figures administering more than 20,000 doses through our hospital hub at Blackpool Victoria, through the mass vaccination centre at the Winter Gardens and through the wider health and social care system who have been providing people with appointments in a range of local settings.
I want to put on record my thanks and admiration to everyone who has been part of the vaccination team and also to everyone who has taken the jab up.
Over the past few months I have demonstrated how passionate I feel about the importance of the vaccination programme. I have been clear it is paramount to our fight against Covid and I really believe it is our best hope to find our way out of the pandemic and get back to some form of ‘normality’ in our lives again.
Please, if you’re a member of staff here at the Trust, make sure you get your vaccine as soon as you’re able and help us to protect you against this horrific virus.
I know there are some colleagues – and indeed in the community – who remain hesitant to have their jab but it is important to stress that the vaccines have gone through strict approval processes with rigorous testing, including with people from a range of ethnic backgrounds and health conditions.
The vaccine will protect yourself, your family, your friends, your colleagues and your patients so when it is offered please have it.
To help encourage you to take up your jab, I’ve asked our well known and highly respected consultant colleague Dr Eric Mutema to guest blog. Please read what Eric has to say. He speaks with great authority about the benefits of the vaccination and I hope you will share his views with others.
Take care and if you’re off for Easter please do enjoy it – if you’re working, thanks for everything you continue to do for each other and our patients.
Guest blog: Dr Eric Mutema
Hello. My name is Dr Eric Mutema and I am the Associate Medical Director for Wellbeing and Development.
I have had both doses of my Covid vaccine now and I really want to encourage everyone who has not yet had their vaccine to do so as a matter of urgency. The Trust has given us all the opportunity to get the vaccine and there is an excellent service available at the vaccination hub. There is also support from your GPs and other providers in the community too so please make the most of the opportunities on offer.
As NHS staff members we are all in a higher risk role than many others in the community and we need to take adequate precautions to reduce risks of contracting the virus or passing it on to others.
When the pandemic came one of the biggest hit communities were those who came from a BAME background. A lot of lives were lost and it was naturally a real cause for concern in those communities. It is for this reason that it is especially important for BAME staff to make sure they are vaccinated against Covid.
Unfortunately there has been a lot of misinformation about what the vaccine can and cannot do and that has made a few people nervous about getting the vaccination.
If anyone does have any doubts I am more than happy to speak to you about any of the fears you may have to reassure you of the process. You can also look at trusted sources of information such as the Public Health England website or speak to other trusted staff members such as those in our virology and occupational health departments who have a lot of knowledge on the issue and can give you all the support you need,
Some of the fears stem from the fact that the vaccines were developed quite quickly but I think this is something we can take as a positive from this pandemic as we look to reduce some of the barriers that have often been put in place to slow down research. The vaccines that have been launched have been done so safely and I believe this is the way forward and research into other diseases such as malaria, which I have a particular interest in, will benefit from.
I firmly believe in the safety of the vaccination programme and if you do take one thing away from me it is a plea to keep yourself safe, keep your family safe and keep your patients safe by getting vaccinated.