Patient Brian Horne receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Helen Ellis.
Ninety-year-old Brian Horne will have some story to share with his friends at the luncheon club he volunteers at every month. The nonagenarian from Chalfont St Peter became the first patient in Buckinghamshire to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, on Monday 14 December.
Brian, a patient at the Hall Practice in Chalfont St Peter, was vaccinated as part of the national GP rollout of the vaccine which started that week.
Speaking afterwards, Brian, who has three children and six grandchildren said: “It is exciting, I feel most honoured. I got a phone call from the surgery on Friday, they asked me to come along today and here I am.”
One of the things Brian is looking forward to the most, other than being able to see his family, is going back to the ‘Friendship Lunch Club’ that he has been involved with for the past 10 years. The club, run by St James’ Church, provides a social way for the elderly who live on their own locally to meet up and enjoy each other’s company. Over the years Brian has been involved, it has grown and grown with more than 100 people attending lunches across the month. “I’ve been redundant since March”, Brian jokes, as the club had to stop running. “I’ve missed it, as you get older, you need to keep occupied so I am looking forward to going back.”
Having had his first jab Brian is delighted to be on his way to being protected from the virus and will be urging his friends to follow suit when they get the call to have their vaccine.
Nurse Helen Ellis, lead practice nurse of 23 years at the Misbourne Practice and part of the COVID-19 mobilisation team at the Chalfont Primary Care Network (PCN), gave Brian the potentially life-saving vaccine. She said: “It’s exciting to be part of this, we are making history. I’m really proud of the role we are playing in both in the network and in primary care as a whole. We are the end of a long line of people who have made this happen. I will remember this day for a long time. We are finally helping people to get their lives back after this devastating year.”
The phased national vaccination programme will see patients aged 80 and over amongst the first to receive the jab. The PCN has been given vaccines for the first wave of the programme, all of which will be given out to local patients over the coming days and weeks.
Dr Nicky Turner, Clinical Director of the Chalfont PCN and GP of 23 years at the Hall Practice, said: “This is a historic day for Buckinghamshire and for the whole country. We are delighted to be one of the first practices to be able to start vaccinating our patients against this deadly virus. We are really proud at the way the whole team has mobilised so quickly. It has been a huge team effort over just a few short days with everyone pulling together to make this happen.”
Patients will be invited to come for their vaccine on a person by person basis as part of the JCVI ( Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation) prioritisation programme with contact made directly from their GP surgery. Patients are asked not to make contact with their surgery but to wait for the surgery to contact them. In the meantime everyone should continue to follow Government guidelines to control the virus and save lives.