MP urges all to get vaccinated as hospitals being placed on standby

The arrival of a Covid vaccine shows “a way out, just around the corner”, according to one of the county’s MPs.

Lucy Allan, MP for Telford, and Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury & Atcham, have both welcomed the approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was approved by the country’s medical regulators earlier this week.

Preparations are now under way across the country, with hospitals reportedly on standby to deliver the vaccine.

A total of 53 NHS trusts – including Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust – are expected to act as hubs offering jabs to people in their area in order of priority.

It comes as it was revealed The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley and Birmingham’s Millennium Point are among sites set to host temporary mass vaccination centres as part of a national roll-out.

It is understood both venues will become vaccine hubs, forming part of a network of 46 such centres in the coming weeks.

Parts of Malvern’s Three Counties’ Showground in Worcestershire and the Villa Park site, home of Aston Villa FC, are also being mooted as possible venues, according to local government sources.

Meanwhile the management of vaccine delivery in the county is being handled by the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.

The organisation has not confirmed when or where it will start to administer the vaccine, but has issued a comment from NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens, who said it would begin “shortly”.

Vaccinations will be carried out in order of priority and the delivery of the jabs promises to be a huge logistical exercise.

Ms Allan said that she would be urging everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they are told they are eligible.

She said: “This is such exciting news – it’s lifted the spirits of the whole country and it gives us all hope for the future.

“People have really suffered in so many ways throughout the pandemic and now we can see there is a way out, just around the corner.

Anguish

"I will be encouraging everyone to take the jab as soon as they get the call. A fantastic achievement by everyone involved in delivering this so quickly.”

Mr Kawczynski said: “We see it is a very important step in getting back to normal and getting the economy functioning again, which is very important.”

He said the news would come as a relief to many care home residents and their relatives, who have been subject to restrictions over visiting throughout the pandemic.

He said: “I think care homes have been one of the most seriously difficult things we have all experienced.

"There are so many constituents who have loved ones in a home, not being able to see them, that has had a huge mental anguish for everyone concerned, so the fact we are rolling this vaccine out and prioritising the vulnerable, that is what it is all about.”

Experts say that around 10 days after the second inoculation, people will have 95 per cent immunity from the virus.

Residents in care homes, people aged over 80, and frontline heath and social care workers will be top of the list for the vaccine.

Priority then goes on a sliding scale of age, and includes people aged 16 to 60 with underlying health conditions. Other people will have to wait until next year for the jab.

The NHS has already recruited thousands of volunteers across the region to assist staff with administering the vaccine.

Sir Simon said people who can get their jab would be contacted when it is ready. It is likely to take until March or April for the entire at-risk population to be vaccinated, he added.

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