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Clitheroe GP practices bring hope to the Ribble Valley – with the launch of the Covid vaccine programme

The first local vaccination services run by family doctors and their teams have opened in Clitheroe this week, as the roll out of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history gains further momentum.

More community sites will be going live in other areas over the next few weeks. Following approval of the vaccination, groups of health providers are setting up local vaccination centres in villages, towns and cities covering every part of the country. Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other NHS staff will work alongside GPs to vaccinate those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents, identified as priority groups for the life-saving vaccine.

Along with other countries in the UK, residents of care homes in England will also receive their first vaccine later this week after distributors finalise new, stringent processes to ensure safe delivery of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine.

Like hospital staff, who launched the world-leading campaign last week, GP practice teams have been working hard and quickly to ensure that residents can be offered the vaccine in well organised, safe and easy to access places in local areas. The over 80s were the first group to be invited for the vaccination by direct invite from their GP practices The NHS will contact people in each of the priority groups identified when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.

Mrs Barbara Lawton, 95 from Clitheroe was one of the first to have the vaccination. She is a retired School Teacher at Saint Michael and John's RC School, Clitheroe.
Mrs Lawton was vaccinated by Practice Nurse, Carole Kay. Mrs Lillian Brass 88 from Clitheroe was also vaccinated and given the vaccine by Nurse Stella Haythornthwaite.

Dr. Russell Robb, PCN Clinical Director, said: “Our vaccination programme has been delivered by the four Ribblesdale GP practice teams working in partnership. We are delighted that the first stage of the vaccination programme has begun in Clitheroe. Those with the highest risk, those aged 80 and over, are being invited first. Care home workers, residents and NHS workers will follow soon. We had put in place a considerable amount of planning and preparation to ensure that this week has gone smoothly and we have vaccinated approaching 1000 patients. Thanks to all the staff and Clitheroe Rotary who have helped, it has been a real team effort.

“This is such a hopeful end to the year, and gives us hope that we can see the back of the virus in 2021. But I do urge everyone to continue to follow the guidance by washing their hands, wearing a mask and keeping a social distance.”