'It was a beacon of hope': NHS staff speak to Calendar a year on since first Covid jab

Nurses at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield preparing vaccine doses on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the UK's history. Credit: PA Images

NHS staff in Sheffield say the vaccine has been "a beacon of hope", one year since it was first administered in the UK.

Karen Jessop, Deputy Chief Nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals says the anniversary feels like being "part of history" all over again.

"It's hard to believe 12 months has gone by"

84-year-old Trixie Walker was one of the first people in Sheffield to have her jab, which she says was "a privilege".

She's now had both her second injection and the booster, and says the vaccines means she can start to enjoy life again.

"We've been very lucky really"

Jane Hopkins from the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals says it has been a "huge challenge" for staff to get large numbers of people jabbed but that they are making good progress and she is "hugely proud."

However, she highlights that with around 90 people currently in hospital with Covid in the city, the virus is still a health threat.

"It's really important to get protected"

Grandmother Margaret Keenan, 91, the first person to get her jab in the whole of the UK is also urging others to get it.

She said: "The best Christmas present I could have is being in good health and having had the jab and feeling free from this horrible virus."

Margaret Keenan being applauded by staff as she returns to her ward after becoming the first person in the UK to have a Covid-19 vaccine. Credit: PA Images

Vaccine uptake in the East Riding of Yorkshire:

  • 88.6% of people have had their first dose 

  • 82.6% have had their second dose

  • 41.8% have had their third dose 

The uptake in Selby, North Yorkshire:

  • 88.3% have had their first does

  • 82.2% have had their second

  • 39% have had their third dose

Some of the worst uptakes in the region:

  • Bradford: 72.6% have had their first dose

  • Kingston upon Hull: 76% have had their first dose

In Bradford - where just over 72% have had their first dose, compared with the national average of 89% - vaccine equalities specialist Rukeya Miah is setting up walk in clinics to encourage people to have a conversation about the jab.