‘Emotional’ weekend as vaccine rolls out in Chapel-en-le-Frith

Staff at a High Peak GP practice spent an ‘emotional’ three days rolling out the start of the Covid-19 vaccination this week - giving out the jab to over 1,100 patients.

By Ben McVay
Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 12:30 pm

Chapel-en-le-Frith’s Thornbrook Surgery was the first community vaccine hub in the borough to begin immunising locals against coronavirus - on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Thornbrook worked alongside Sett Valley Medical Centre, Arden House and Goyt Valley Medical Practice giving out the Pfizer-BioNTech jab in a ‘fantastic atmosphere for patients and staff’.

On Monday elderly High Peak locals could be seen arriving at the surgery with carers and relatives, marshalled into the building with help from volunteers.

Thornbrook Nurse Trisha Longden gives the first vaccine

Thornbrook understands those who received the injection will now await a further booster jab in three months’ time.

And nurse practitioners from the site will be visiting those unable to travel to the surgery in remote parts of High Peak to provide the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine over the coming week.

Volunteer Sam Longden, 26, described how many of those arriving at the hub during the weekend - the oldest aged 100 - ‘haven’t been out of the house since March’.

He said: “It’s been a lovely atmosphere - obviously some of them were a little bit nervous about coming out of the house.

Volunteer Sam Longden with patient Susan Bagshaw

“But most of them were so excited - it’s been great.”

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PE Teacher Sam, whose mum Trisha is a nurse practitioner, will be helping out with admin while she administers the vaccine at people’s homes this week.

He said: “We’re expecting another delivery of the Pfizer vaccine but that has to be used within two hours of coming out of the fridge and can’t be shaken up too much.

Michael and Victoria Abbott-Fleming

“Being in a car isn’t great for it so we’ll be taking the Oxford-AstraZeneca out to people who can’t attend the surgery later in the week in places like Hope Valley and Edale.”

Sam told how patients were in and out of the surgery within 25 minutes - with each going through pre-jab health checks and post-jab safety observations.

Anne Stores, 86, who described the experience as ‘easy’, received a call last week asking her to come in for the vaccine.

She said: “I’m very pleased. I’m not sure when the next one will be but they said they’ll be in touch - it’s all very well done.”

Anne Stores outside the surgery after receiving the jab

Niki Williams, 41, who accompanied his 75-year-old mother-in-law Susan Bagshaw to the surgery from New Mills, said the family had been ‘hoping for a long time’ that the vaccine would come through.

He said: “I’m quite surprised how fast they’ve done it considering they only announced it in early December.

“When we got the early notification we said ‘oh that’s very quick’.”

Furloughed leisure industry worker Niki said: “I’m relieved because it just protects me when I’m working - with her living in the house with us and vulnerable I wouldn’t want to be bringing anything back.”

Chinley couple Michael and Victoria Abbott-Fleming were given the Pfizer jab together.

The waiting room during the vaccine rollout at Thornbrook Surgery

Michael has been a carer for double-amputee Victoria - who lost both legs due to regional pain syndrome (CPRS) - for 15 years.

The couple had feared Michael - as a man in his 50s with no serious health conditions - would have to wait longer for the vaccine however last week they were informed they would receive it on the same day.

When the vaccine was announced in December Michael spoke out against health chiefs - saying family carers were not being prioritised along with paid health and social care workers.

Devoted husband Michael feared if he became ill with the virus and was unable to look after wife Victoria, aged 41, then she might end up in a care home.

Speaking outside Thornbrook on Monday he said: “I’m just trying to protect my wife.

“A lot of the people in the top four levels of the priority list have carers but they’re not paid carers, they’re members of the family.

“They need to be protected because if they get ill then the person they’re caring for will end up in a home.

“We’ve had the vaccine now and that’s great but we’re still going to campaign for other people in our situation.”

Ahead of the rollout at Thornbrook volunteers rallied round to help out with marshalling at the venue.

Among those who stepped forward were Buxton Mountain Rescue Team - who were on standby alongside Kinder Mountain Rescue Team to transport people in anticipation of snow.

Volunteer Sam Longden told how the crew helped bring patients from remote parts of New Mills to the hub.

He said: “We expected a bit more snow so they were here on standby and it’s been a big help just knowing they were here really.”

Samantha Todd, Thornbrook practice manager, said: “The whole weekend has not only been a fantastic atmosphere but it flowed with excellent management from all four GP Practices ensuring each clinic ran smoothly, efficiently and safely.

“Each day was very emotional with each member of staff feeling like they were a part of history and were all very proud that they were able to start to protect the residents of the High Peak.”

On Friday Buxton’s first Covid-19 vaccination hub will begin its clinics.

Buxton Medical Practice hub will be immunising people on Friday January 15, Saturday January 16 and Sunday January 17.

Connex Community Support are offering free transport for anyone who needs it to get their appointment.

The volunteer organisation is also appealing for volunteers for shifts of up to three hours at the Buxton Medical Practice hub marshalling traffic.

Anyone interested in helping should email Buxton Medical Practice as soon as possible at [email protected] and write ‘car park volunteers’ in the subject box of the email.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor