Covid: How is the North West coping one year on from the first vaccine?

One of the hospitals which delivered the first round of vaccines was Royal Preston - our reporter Tim Scott reports from there.

It is exactly a year today since the UK became the first country in the world to administer an approved vaccine in the battle against coronavirus.

Ted Jones, 86, received the jab in the North West at Salford Royal Hospital, one of 50 hospital hubs around the UK to administer the vaccine on the first day it was available.

Despite the arrival of the uncertainty of the new Omicron variant, the message is still very much that vaccines and boosters are the best way of protecting ourselves.

Ted Jones, 86, received the jab at Salford Royal Hospital last year. Credit: ITV News

Covid patients are still occupying beds in hospitals across the region, but thanks to the vaccines, the numbers are way down on last year.

Professor Mohammed Munavvar, from the Royal Preston Hospital, said despite this, Covid is still taking up significant resources.

He said: "There's a constant juggling of beds. I have patients who require our expertise with lung conditions out there but we do not have enough 'green beds'."

Professor Mohammed Munavvar, Royal Preston Hospital.

The hospital has seen seriously ill patients who have not had vaccines, explains Professor Munavvar, and is urging people to get their jab booked.

Describing it as 'the best weapon' to fight the virus, he said: "They are the ones at risk of going into critical care and dying from Covid."

However, vaccinated people can still catch Covid-19, although the vast majority do not become seriously ill.

Credit: PA

Eileen, currently a patient at the Royal Preston Hospital, had just received her booster shot when she was rushed to hospital.

Speaking to ITV Granda Reports, Eileen said: "I had my two vaccines, I'm very much pro-vaccine. I'd gone for the booster and then started being ill after the booster. My chest was very tight."

But Eileen is now well enough to leave the hospital, she said having her vaccinations, and the care of the hospital staff, have helped her to pull through.

Eileen, who is double vaccinated, is on the mend after catching coronavirus. Credit: ITV News

One year ago NHS volunteer Doreen McKewan became one of the first people in the North West to receive the vaccine.

She has advised people to 'go for the vaccine straight way', saying "it's so important to protect yourself, but mainly to protect others."

Over the past year nearly 50 million have had two vaccine doses and the NHS is now recruiting extra staff to speed up the booster programme.

With more cases of the Omicron variant, it is understood that new coronavirus restrictions are being considered by Boris Johnson in a bid to tackle it.

Doreen volunteered to have one of the very first vaccines in the region in December 2020. Credit: ITV News

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