9th December 2020
Springfield Healthcare are pleased to confirm that we have commenced the roll out of the programme to vaccinate against Covid-19. We have moved quickly, as has everyone in our sector, to put things into place. Our staff have been given and are signing consent forms, and residents and families are being supported to make decisions for themselves and their family member who lives with us.
Our colleagues in Leeds will have their first of the two doses on Wednesday 9h December. This is an incredible, ground-breaking moment and one which has been much anticipated. We may have an end in sight, however, we are conscious that we are still many months away from being in the clear from this terrible virus. We must all continue to play our part.
Chief Nursing Officer, Cyd Akrill, MBE said,
“Over the last few weeks, I have been asked the question whether I will have the vaccine or not. The answer is yes, I will and if possible, I would be first in the queue. However, I will take my turn and allow the people in the identified priority groups to have the vaccine first. I will be vaccinated to protect the people in my care, my family and colleagues. We need as many people as possible to take part in this programme as soon as possible to protect each other and keep COVID-19 under control. The vaccine will likely be highly effective at preventing disease but might not be as effective at preventing asymptomatic infection, where the recipient of the vaccine might not get sick but could still spread the virus. Scientists estimate that to control COVID-19, about 7 or 8 of every 10 people will need to be immune.
I appreciate people are concerned about the speed in which the vaccine has been produced believing the short space of time taken means it will be less safe. Please allow me to reassure you the World has been working on this and nothing else. Money has been no object and there is an interesting fact to inform you of. If I may take a moment to offer the following information which I feel is very important and may assist in decision making.
Broadly there are three categories of vaccines. The first were made from live vaccines that were weakened or deactivated as with measles. Then we have protein subunit vaccines which recreate a small portion of the virus, this is the vaccine used for Hepatitis B. The problem with these vaccines however is that they can take many years, up to a decade or more to research and develop in clinical tests and trials. The pressure of the pandemic, which affected people globally, led researchers to finally execute a third class of vaccine. A nucleic acid vaccine, which work by providing the instructional genetic code for the body to make non -infectious viral bits and bobs that kick off an antibody response.
This is the interesting part of the story. They were ahead of the game because they had to produce this type of vaccine for Ebola. The advantage of nucleic acid vaccines is that they can be developed shortly after researchers genetically sequence a pathogen: cutting down the development time from years, down to months. The reason why scientists did not use these before was because they were trying to work out how to get nucleic acid vaccines into our cells without our body destroying it. So, in a nutshell, to be fair, half the work was done and some very clever people worked out the missing bit. Furthermore, when you are concerned about this being a live vaccine, it is not.
We will never work out the wonders of science. Scientists involved day in and out, people who commit their lives to many or perhaps only one project. We will never meet these exceptional people and often their devotion to their work, saving millions of lives a year will go unnoticed. I am very grateful and thankful we have such people. I am certain they will also recognise our work, unseen partnerships of which I am very proud. We are at the very front line of this pandemic, recognised as such by being offered the vaccine first, the very least you and I can do is be in the queue.
Please, if you have any further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact your home manager, Angela Randle or myself. We will be happy to assist and support you.
My warmest wishes
Cyd Akrill MBE
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