'I didn't even feel the needle going in' - daughter gives jab to retired doctor father in Rugby's first coronavirus vaccination

The leader of the programme said he wishes to thank staff for their exceptionally hard work

Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 3:07 pm
Dr Helen Douse administers the vaccine to her father Dr Joe Douse.

Dr Helen Douse gave the new coronavirus vaccination to her father, retired GP Joe Douse, in an historical moment for Rugby this morning, December 16.

The Advertiser was invited to capture the important moment, and to learn more of the exceptionally hard work of NHS staff in making it all possible.

Just five days ago Rugby's vaccination centre at Locke House Woodside Park was nothing more than redundant offices.

But a mammoth effort from local NHS staff saw a rapid transformation of the building to make it suitable for the huge effort to protect Rugbeians from coronavirus.

This morning, just after 8.30am, those efforts came to fruition when the first vaccination in the borough was given to Dr Joe Douse, who worked as a GP for 32 years.

"I didn't even feel the needle going in," he said.

"People who are worried about needles needn't be worried about this - it was completely painless and I feel fine."

Dr Helen Douse, who has been a GP at Clifton for 22 years, said she has never taken part in such a large-scale public vaccination programme.

"We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. It will take a while, perhaps a year, for everyone to receive it - but this is how we get out of this," she said.

"We can vaccinate everyone in Rugby, but the main problem is supply."

Dr Douse said she and her colleagues are hopeful that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be approved shortly - providing a huge boost in supply of a safe and effective vaccination for residents.

She added: "The key message to people is to please keep following the rules and to wait to be invited for this opportunity."

Dr Norman Byrd is the head of Rugby Health, a group of 12 GP surgeries in Rugby which are working together to deliver the vaccine in the new centre.

He described this morning's vaccination as an historical moment for Rugby - and said he wished to thank staff for their exceptional work in recent days.

"Rugby's MP Mark Pawsey visited yesterday and I asked him to relay to Health Secretary Matt Hancock that there have been problems with supply of equipment from central government.

"But local NHS staff worked hard to make up for that - on Sunday we had CCG staff in Ikea picking up furniture and the CCG has supplied us with computers.

"Rugby is one of the first areas in the country to administer the vaccine - and this was a huge local effort."

Both Dr Byrd and Dr Douse urged residents to be patient as Rugby Health works its way through various groups of residents in order of vulnerability, contacting individuals when the time is right.

Dr Byrd also asked residents to be patient if they experience some delays to normal GP services - as surgeries across the area are working hard to support the efforts of the vaccination centre.

Dr Douse described misinformation about the vaccine being spread on social media as frustrating.

She said: "The vaccine has been developed quickly - but this is because there was so much funding for it.

"It has been robustly tested and has been found to be safe and effective."

975 doses of the vaccine were delivered to the centre yesterday, with around 300 people expected to be vaccinated each day until Friday.

A new delivery is presently not expected for three or four weeks - but an NHS spokesperson present this morning said the situation is rapidly evolving and more supplies could arrive sooner.

At full capacity, staff are aiming to vaccinate 900 Rugbeians each day.