A COUNTY Durham woman has become the millionth person to receive the 1st dose of the Covid vaccine in the region.
Clare Ripley received the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab at Station View Medical Centre in Bishop Auckland on Thursday.
The dose marks a significant milestone in the vaccination programme as it recently opened up to more age groups across England.
The promising figure accounts for all 1st doses given by GP-led services and at mass vaccination sites within the North-East and North Cumbria CCG areas.
After receiving the jab, Ms Ripley said: “As a carer of both my elderly mother and two young children, it is important to me that I am vaccinated.”
Ms Ripley said: “Dr Nair, one of the doctors here at this practice unfortunately lost her battle with COVID-19 and her family are feeling the consequences of this virus.
“I know she would be encouraging patients to take the vaccine.
“She was always very good to my family, and I think that this is the best course of action for all families out there.”
“ It is important we all are vaccinated to prevent the spread of this virus, if not for ourselves for other people, we need to get back to our lives, make memories with our loved ones before it’s too late.”
The NHS is currently prioritising the rollout of the vaccine to those who experts have agreed will benefit from having it the most.
Since February 15, people in cohorts 5 (all those aged 65 and over) and 6 (those aged between 16 and 64 with underlying health conditions which put them at a higher risk of serious disease or death) have been invited by the NHS to have their Covid vaccine.
Local GP vaccination services are focusing initially on the clinically vulnerable from cohort 6 because of the relationship between general practice and those with long term conditions, and continuity of care.
Suzanne Mcgonnell, a nurse at Station View, who gave the millionth vaccine, said she felt “honoured” to be part of the programme.
She said: “Things have been extremely difficult for all staff in recent months however the vaccine shows us that the light at the end of the tunnel is closer.
“I am honoured to be part of this and urge anyone that is offered it to take the vaccine.”
Sarah Westgarth, practice manager at Station View, said: “The vaccine roll out has been positive. I am honoured to be fronting this programme for the surgery.
“I am extremely proud of all the staff here at Station View that have made this possible, I feel very lucky to have such an amazing team leading the way in primary care services.
“In addition to GP vaccination services, large vaccination centres offer an alternative choice for people.
“People may wish to wait a little while until they receive an invitation from their own GP practice as this is likely to be closer to where they live and might be more convenient depending on individual circumstances.”
Dr Findlay, Primary Care Clinical Director, for the programme thanked those involves: “This is a huge, combined team effort.
“Everyone in GP practices, primary care, clinical commissioning groups and hospitals – the thousands of NHS workers who moved on to the vaccination programme from other jobs.
“Our partners in the local councils from social care, public health, transport and planning.
“All our volunteers from the police, fire service, a huge range of community and voluntary organisations.
“Travel and transport partners, nexus, bus companies who are helping to make access to vaccination services as easy as possible.
“It’s every one of you that has made this milestone possible, giving everyone hope that we are on our way out of this terrible pandemic.