The Local Government Association (LGA) has thanked councils for their role in supporting the COVID-19 vaccine programme one year on from the start of its roll-out.
The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was administered by Matron May Parsons to 90-year old Margaret Keenan who received a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on December 8, 2020.
Over the last year, more than 118 million doses of the vaccine – including the new booster shot – have been administered in the UK.
LGA chairman Cllr James Jamieson said that local authorities had been ‘integral’ to the deployment of the vaccine programme.
During the pandemic, councils transformed many local venues into vaccination centres and helped organise pop-up clinics in libraries, football stadiums, shopping centres and even mobile bus clinics.
‘The vaccine roll-out programme has been a huge success so far and local authorities have been integral to the roll-out of the programme from the beginning, working closely with the NHS,’ Cllr Jamieson said.
‘Using their local knowledge, they have been able to offer more personalised support to encourage residents to get vaccinated. The success of the programme has enabled society to return to a level of normality which has had significant benefits for the health and wellbeing of all residents, while supporting the recovery of our economy.
‘Vaccination is ultimately our route out of this pandemic and we encourage everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccine whether it be your first, second or booster dose. Although there is still work to be done to overcome issues such as vaccine hesitancy, communities can be assured that councils will continue working hard to ensure residents are supported to get the vaccine.’
Marking the one-year anniversary of the start of the vaccine programme, vaccines minister Maggie Throup said: ‘Our COVID-19 vaccination programme has been an incredible success.
‘Booster jabs will top-up the immunity people have already developed to ensure we are protected during the winter and ahead of Christmas.
‘I encourage everybody to come forward for the first, second, booster and flu vaccines to protect yourself and those around you.’