February 2021: News from your local MP
Thanks to scientists and medics by Chris Skidmore
2021 has started with the incredibly positive news on Covid-19 vaccinations and that three vaccines – Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca and Moderna – have been approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Necessity being the mother of invention and all that, the awesome power of Research & Development and the human capacity for innovation has been unleashed in full and doubles down on the UK’s international reputation when it comes to cutting edge science and research.
Despite the dangerous claims of the “anti-vaxxers”, these vaccine approvals follow months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccines meet strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
Vaccination sites across our region have been inviting people in the highest priority groups to be vaccinated. As the first phase of the programme is rolled out, additional data will become available and will provide the basis for consideration of vaccination in groups that are at lower risk of dying from Covid-19.
These sites include hospital hubs located at Southmead Hospital, Bristol Royal Infirmary and Weston General Hospital, a super vaccination centre at Ashton Gate Stadium (which is vaccinating people from 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week) and three vaccination sites run by GPs in our local area:
• Kingswood Health Centre, Kingswood
• Christchurch Family Medical Centre, Downend
• Lodgeside Surgery, Kingswood
Remember that the NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. It’s important not to contact your GP surgery for a vaccination before then as GPs are still trying to maintain services for other health needs.
As the son of an NHS nurse, I am again in awe of the staff who are working tirelessly to ensure the necessary measures are in place for those most at risk to get their vaccine first. As tough an ask it is, we need patience and understanding – staff are doing everything they can to stick to timelines, however they may need to cancel or amend appointments depending on delivery of the vaccine.
Other Covid-19 vaccines are in development, with some in late stage trials, so supply will only grow. 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.