Coronavirus in Portsmouth: More than 100,000 people receive at least first jab in city with Gosport, Fareham, Havant and East Hampshire taking total to 360,000
MORE than 100,000 people in Portsmouth have now received at least one Covid vaccination shot in a ‘fantastic’ milestone that medics say will see society ‘return to normality’.
The latest figures from NHS England released today showed 100,884 people within the Portsmouth City Council area had their first dose of the vaccine as of April 18.
Including Gosport, Fareham, Havant and East Hampshire sees the total rise to 360,676 people having received at least one dose.
Among those welcoming the news was 47-year-old Dean Fitzgerald, from Hilsea, who received his first AstraZeneca jab at Lalys Pharmacy in Guildhall Walk today.
The electrical manager said: ‘I am so glad to be here.
‘I can't understand why people don't want to get their vaccine done, I can't get my head around it. If people want to return to normality this is what needs to be done.
‘I work in London and get a test done every week for peace of mind but this will just add to that.
‘My wife and daughter already had theirs because they work for the NHS so this will be something else to help keep them safe.’
And 90-year-old Portsmouth resident Kathleen Freeman attended the pharmacy for her second dose.
‘I'm very happy to get my second vaccine,’ she said.
‘I had no problems with the first one.’
Health officials have thanked all those involved in the vaccination effort that saw hubs set up in various locations around the city including St James’ Hospital in Milton as well as GP surgeries and pharmacies.
Helen Atkinson, Portsmouth’s director of public health, said: ‘It's fantastic to have surpassed 100,000 Portsmouth residents receiving at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
‘It's an amazing achievement within the time frame and is testament to the hard work of so many people, including all of the volunteers who have helped at vaccination clinics and the St James’ hub.
‘The vaccine provides the best protection against coronavirus and is our way out of the pandemic. Thank you to all those who have taken up the offer already and thanks to those who are waiting to be contacted when it's their turn.
‘If you're in one of the eligible groups and haven’t yet had your first dose please make an appointment.’
Healthwatch Portsmouth chairman, Roger Batterbury, added: ‘It is fantastic news, it really is.
‘Everyone's pulled together that’s it. The local authority, the NHS, and the volunteers who have been phenomenal.
‘I think it's been a fantastic collaboration, it really shows what can be done for such a serious situation as the pandemic. It's a fabulous milestone to reach.’
David Noyes, the chief operating officer for Solent NHS Trust – in charge of the vaccination programme in Hampshire – said: ‘We are really proud to be playing a key role in the NHS’s biggest ever vaccination programme.
‘It has been fantastic to see the positive reactions of all the people we’ve vaccinated.’
He added: ‘Our thanks go to everyone working and volunteering at these centres for their remarkable efforts so far. We are encouraging everyone eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19 when they are invited by the NHS.'
It comes as Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham has reported no new Covid deaths since April 8.
Ms Atkinson reminded people not to get complacent. ‘The first dose of the vaccine offers good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection you need to get the second dose, so please make sure you go back for your second appointment,’ she said.
‘It's also important that you continue to follow the guidance around washing hands, wearing a face covering and making space even when you've had the vaccine so that you don’t potentially pass the virus to others.’
City council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, agreed. He said: ‘It's a really important milestone. We are also getting more and more people having their second jab, which is very important.
‘Everything's going in the right direction - our infection rates are the lowest in Hampshire.
‘But we have got to make sure we keep to social distancing, keep wearing our face masks, keep washing our hands and all the things that keep us safe.’
Since the beginning of the pandemic QA Hospital has recorded 909 coronavirus related deaths, and there have been 99 in Portsmouth care homes.
People aged between 45 and 49 are currently eligible for a vaccine. To book visit nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119 if you can’t get online.
People vaccinated as of April 18
Portsmouth - 100,884
Havant - 75,434
East Hampshire- 71,846
Fareham - 68,068
Gosport - 44,444