Health officials have praised a North East Fire and Rescue Service after they helped set up a vaccination centre in a matter of days.
Millions of residents across the UK have been invited to receive their Coronavirus booster vaccination in the face of an increase in Omicron cases in recent weeks. The new strain has led to a spike in transmissions as we enter the festive period and health officials have called on the public to protect themselves.
But it has led to a huge demand for new vaccination centres and health officials have relied on partner organisations and volunteers to drive the booster roll-out.
And today (23 December) officials in the North East have praised Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) after they helped set up a vaccination centre. They were able to stand up the centre at the Newcastle Eagles arena on Scotswood Road just four days after being asked for their support.
Prof. Eugene Milne, Director of Public Health for Newcastle, said: ‘The whole vaccination roll-out, and more recently the push to get as many boosters in people’s arms as possible by the end of the year, has been a real partnership effort with many organisations and volunteers pulling together to help keep people safe.
‘The support of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service in getting the clinic at Newcastle Eagles under way so quickly has been key, and demonstrates what can be achieved when partners work together.
‘I would urge everyone to come forward for the vaccine, whether you’re eligible for a booster or still need a 1st or 2nd dose, it is the best way of looking after yourself and your loved ones, and minimising the pressure on the NHS.’
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s most senior fire officer said fire and rescue services across the country are playing a ‘crucial role’ in the fight against Coronavirus.
Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: ‘Throughout the pandemic fire and rescue services have played a crucial role in protecting communities against the virus.
‘Here in Tyne and Wear we have helped set up vaccination centres, some of our staff have been trained in administering vaccinations and we have provided lateral flow tests to our communities.
‘Many of our staff have volunteered their own time to help with the vaccination drive and I am so proud of everyone who has stepped up to help keep the public safe.
‘We do so much more than fighting fires. We provide a humanitarian response for our communities and will always be there creating the safest communities in the most challenging of times.’
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service are supporting the vaccination drive at a number of different sites with vaccination buses also being stationed at Fire Stations across Tyne and Wear.
You can check if you are eligible for the vaccine, and where you can receive it, by visiting www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/