History made as Coventry and Warwickshire's millionth covid vaccine is given at Rugby's Locke House site

Staff and volunteers broke into applause when the jab was delivered

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 6:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th June 2021, 7:00 pm
Dr Byrd administers the jab to Shan.
Dr Byrd administers the jab to Shan.

History was made today when Coventry and Warwickshire's millionth covid vaccination was delivered at Rugby's Locke House vaccination centre.

50-year-old Shan, who has lived in Sri Lanka and France and now resides in Rugby, was the millionth recipient.

The father-of-two said: "This will be my second dose and it will be a huge relief to know that I'm safe and I'm helping to keep others safe.

Some of the hard-working volunteers, headed by centre manager Gita, stood at the front.

"This is something we all need to do to make sure we are protecting each other."

Centre manager Gita Natarajan and clinical lead Dr Norman Byrd have worked tirelessly since the centre opened last year - with the centre so far vaccinating almost 70,000 Rugbeians.

And they both attribute much of the centre's success to the efforts of the more than 120 volunteers - which Gita estimates have clocked up 180,000 working hours between them.

Norman said: "Things really could not have gone better, and much of that is because the volunteers. What they have achieved is truly phenomenal.

"Gita has also been brilliant, we couldn't have done this without her."

Staff and volunteers looked on as the jab was administered to Shan, breaking into applause once it had been done.

Amid the huge centre's success, both Gita and Norman expressed concern over vaccine hesitancy, particularly in younger people.

Addressing young people, Norman said: "If you are getting your information from reputable sources - including the NHS website - you can make an informed decision.

"If you are getting your information from Facebook and other less reputable places there is no way you can know what to do.

"It's true that younger people are less likely to become seriously ill with covid-19 - but hospitals across the country have been treating young, healthy people who have become dangerously ill with it.

"But it's also about protecting other people who are far more vulnerable, and if you are getting vaccinated you are doing that.

"The only way we can return to normality is by continuing to follow the guidelines and by being vaccinated - the vaccinations are key."

Gita also explained that there is an issue with vaccine hesitancy among black and ethnic minority communities - adding that she hoped members of those communities would be inspired by Shan's example to come forward and book a vaccination.

From next month the centre will begin phase two of its operation, whereby it will begin vaccinating Rugbeians under 50.

Dr Byrd said that when this happens things will change slightly - with booking then having to be done through the central system.