Jab done for Leeds dad

A local frontline NHS worker and community volunteer is urging people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations when they’re offered them.

Errol Murray works as a Partners Peer Supporter in the Perinatal Mental Health Service at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.  He is also the founder of Leeds Dads, a charity that brings fathers together for social interaction and support.

Errol had his vaccination at work last week. He said: “I feel very fortunate to have had the vaccine. It was a swift, safe and well organised experience, managed by well trained staff with professional care. The team included redeployed staff, volunteers and medics who have come back from retirement – it’s a fantastic team effort.

“Having the vaccine is so important. It will help keep me, my family and my community safe and means I’m one step closer to being able to meet up with friends and family in real life, not just virtually.  Vitally, for me as a frontline NHS worker, it will protect my colleagues and my patients, some of whom are quite vulnerable.

“I’d encourage everyone to get the vaccination when it’s offered to them – it’s quick, safe and painless and will help us get to the other side of the pandemic.”

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is the main provider of mental health, learning disabilities and autism services in Leeds. The Trust started its vaccination programme on 11 January – concentrating efforts at a vaccination hub they set up at The Mount facility in central Leeds.

Joanna Forster Adams, Chief Operating Officer at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our vaccine team has done such an amazing job setting up our vaccination programme so quickly. They’ve been prioritising staff who have regular contact with service users, the public and other staff, or who might need to come into Trust premises to work.

“As of 25 January we’d vaccinated over 60% of our staff and we’re making great progress on vaccinating our inpatients too.

“I’m so proud of our team and of all those across Leeds making this happen so quickly to protect ourselves and each other. Once we’ve vaccinated our staff and service users, our hub at The Mount will become available to vaccinate members of the public.”

The vaccination programme in Leeds is well underway now, with sites at primary care networks (groups of GP practices), hospital hubs and two pharmacies vaccinating those who have been identified as the first priorities for this life-saving vaccine. Last week, a new site at Elland Road began vaccinating the city’s frontline health and care staff. It will open as a large community vaccination centre for the wider public in the coming weeks, meaning even more people will soon be invited to book appointments for their vaccinations, following the national priority list.

Dr Jason Broch, Clinical Chair of NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group and GP in Leeds, said: “We’re following the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance on the groups that should be prioritised for vaccination. When you’re eligible to have the vaccine, you will be contacted and invited to book an appointment. Please do not contact your GP practice – the NHS will contact you.

“We understand that people are really keen to get vaccinated so they can begin to return to normal life, but please be patient. GP practices across the city are working extremely hard to book patients in for their vaccine and at the same time they are continuing to deliver their wide range of services to other patients. Waiting until you’re contacted will help keep phone lines open for people who are ill or need our help.

“Even when you’ve had the vaccine, it’s important to remember to still follow the current guidance and restrictions, wash your hands regularly, try to keep to the two metre distance rule where possible and wear a face covering when you’re out, including  in health settings. This will help control the spread of the virus and save lives.”