This week the NHS in south east London is once again in the global spotlight as the new COVID-19 vaccination centre in Lambeth became the first in London to administer the PfizerBioNTech vaccine.
Patients most at-risk to coronavirus will now begin to receive the COVID-19 vaccination at one of the vaccination centres across south east London.
Like hospital staff, who launched the world-leading campaign last week, practice teams, and primary care networks across London, have worked rapidly to redesign their sites to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination.
‘A momentous day for us all’
Dr Jayesh Patel, who works at the Lambeth vaccination centre, speaking to BBC, Channel 4 News and US media described the occasion as ‘a momentous day for us all. The vaccine gives us a ray of hope’.
Dr George Verghese, who also works at the centre, shared his experience of what has so far been an incredibly challenging winter for local patients and NHS staff, with the double threat of flu and Covid-19: “Everyone is pulling together against those risks. The approaching weeks and months will be exhausting but utterly worth it. I’m thrilled that we have a vaccine after the pain and dark days our patients have gone through – this is a moment of hope.”
Practices in south east London received delivery of the vaccine yesterday, with some able to start vaccination clinics later that same day, with the majority starting today (Tuesday 15 December).
NHS urges public to come for COVID vaccine when it’s their turn
Despite the excitement around this launch, GPs the COVID-19 vaccination hub in Lambeth echoed NHS England’s call for members of the public not to contact the NHS and GPs to request a vaccine before it is their turn.
When it is the right time people will receive an invitation to come forward. For most people this will be a letter, either from their GP or the NHS England.
And with London moving to Tier 3 restrictions from Wednesday 16 December, the NHS is reminding residents in south east London to ensure they follow the social distancing guidelines to protect their loved ones, their communities, and to play their part in reducing the transmission of the virus.