In a week of Covid vaccination “firsts,” 90 year old Herbert (Bert) Smith became the first person in Ripley to receive a vaccination at the Jessop Medical Practice on Steeple Drive. “You’re better off having it than not and that’s what I’m telling everyone” Bert said.

Having retired from full time work at 74, Bert is now a part time carer who keeps himself fit and well by cooking healthy meals and eating “at least five a day.” He also walks a dog for at least two miles a day and believes that looking after his own health is really important. Bert says he is looking forward to the week after his second vaccination which will mean he will be fully protected and in his own words, “ready to go to a party.” 

Covid-19 vaccinations are initially being provided for those aged 80 and over, as well as healthcare workers and people living in care homes. The vaccine is given as two injections, 21 days apart, with the second dose being a booster. Immunity begins to kick in after the first dose but reaches its full effect seven days after the second dose.

Dr Andrew Mott, GP and one of the Clinical Directors for the Alfreton, Ripley, Crich and Heanor Primary Care Network (PCN) comprising nine local GP practices said, “A year ago we hadn’t even heard of Covid-19 so to now be vaccinating against it is unbelievable.” Vaccinations are taking place over Saturday and Sunday with patients from all nine practices being invited to the same venue. Staff are working in shifts to provide vaccines for 12 hours on both days to vaccinate as many people as possible. Dr Mott said, “I feel really proud of the team…..this is about helping people get back out again after being isolated and it is the start of a journey back to a new level of safety for them.”

Dr Steve Lloyd, Derbyshire GP and Medical Director for NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group thanked all those involved in delivering the new vaccine programme and said: “I am incredibly grateful to colleagues in general practice across Derbyshire for their part in the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS. They are doing a fantastic job in making detailed arrangements over a matter of days to vaccinate large numbers of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. More vaccination sites will open soon but in the meantime we ask that people continue to be patient and wait for the NHS to contact them about a vaccination.”