Thousands vaccinated against COVID-19 by surgeries in Fishponds area

January 29 2021
Thousands vaccinated against COVID-19 by surgeries in Fishponds area

SURGERIES have been vaccinating up to 800 patients a day against COVID-19 in Fishponds.

In Eastville, the East Trees Health Centre held its first vaccinations for patients of the six surgeries in the Bristol Inner City Primary Care Network, which also include Charlotte Keel practice, two days before Christmas.

In Fishponds, patients of three surgeries – Beechwood Medical Practice, Fishponds Family Practice and Air Balloon Surgery, who together form the FABB Primary Care Network – are being vaccinated at the Fishponds Primary Care Centre in Beechwood Road.

Patients of the Old School Surgery in Manor Road, which is part of the Fireclay & Old School Surgery Primary Care Network, were being invited for vaccinations at Lodgeside Surgery in Kingswood, with the first session on January 16.

More than 2,300 patients had been vaccinated at the Fishponds Primary Care Centre when it received its first two batches of the Pfizer BioNTech jab.

Two Saturday mass sessions on January 16 and 23 saw 800 patients vaccinated between 8.30am and 6.30pm, with further sessions held for just under 400 patients on weekdays.

Beechwood practice manager Sarah Monteith said around 40 staff and volunteers worked in PPE for more than 12 hours on each Saturday session, preparing and administering the vaccine, guiding people through a specially-arranged one-way system and monitoring patients afterwards to ensure they did not have an adverse reaction.

The first jab on the first day went to Beechwood's oldest patient, 101-year-old Mary Hicks (above).

Sarah said: "Because she was the oldest patient, she was offered the first appointment, which was at 8.30am. We thought it might be too early but she didn't care – she was the first through the door!"

Sarah said there was a lot of enthusiasm among staff and patients for the first clinic, and with relatives or carers waiting outside for them to have their jabs, the atmosphere was "a bit like the first day of school".

She said: "We were all just happy to be doing something that was actually making a difference. People have been sleeping, dreaming, eating and breathing covid clinics.

"For a lot of the patients, it was the first time they had been out of their homes since lockdown."

Take-up of the vaccine has been very high, and the first patients have been booked in for second appointments in 12 weeks in line with current government guidance.

By January 21, almost 80,000 doses of the vaccine had been administered in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire at 19 GP surgery hubs, hospitals, the Ashton Gate centre and the Superdrug pharmacy in Broadmead. 

The Healthier Together Partnership, which is in charge of the programme in the area, is urging people not to contact their surgery to ask for a vaccination but instead wait to be called.

A spokesperson said: "Please be assured that no one will be left behind – this is the start of the vaccination programme and there will be enough for everyone."

Beechwood Medical Practice GPs Dr David Cheang, Dr Justine De Mink and Dr Rachael Dodoo at the first mass vaccination clinic

Top: Nurse practitioner Julie Davidson and senior clinical pharmacists Kate Macnamara and Zynab Meakin prepared vaccines.