'A glimmer of hope' as Moray Coast practice team rally to vaccinate 540 patients over the age of 80
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A REAL team effort and desire to help people saw the staff at one Moray surgery rally round to organise Covid-19 vaccinations for 540 patients aged over 80.
Laura Murgatroyd, lead nurse at Moray Coast practice in Lossiemouth, said yesterday: "We are all really excited and I don't think any of us slept last night.
"We have a team of five nurses, two bank nurses, two retired nurses who came back to help and all the community nurses.
"The vaccines arrived at 4pm on Wednesday. We have done flu clinics for years but this feels a little different," added Laura, who also vaccinated nursing and other staff at the practice.
Alison Frankland, practice manager, said they only got the go-ahead to begin giving vaccines last Friday, so it was a case of "all hands to the pump" to organise the clinics for over-80s patients.
Their first Covid-19 vaccine clinic started at 8.30am yesterday and there is another today from 8.30am to around 6pm.
Alison added: "It is a relief to everyone that we have been able to get this in place. This will make a real difference to so many people."
The first patient to get the vaccine at 8.30am was a 90-year-old woman.
Margaret (82) and Bill Stephen (83) were among the first to get the jab.
The couple have been married for 62 years.
"We're taking it as it comes," said Bill. "We have been getting out and about as often as we can within the rules."
Donnie Stewart (89), a local historian, added: "I am all in favour of the vaccine. I have spent most of the time (in lockdown) on my computer."
Retired practice nurse Susan McSheffrey, who previously worked at the surgery for 30 years, said: "This is a big moment."
Margaret (84) and Bill Stewart (87) admitted the last few months had been difficult.
"The last time I was out of the house was to get my flu jab," said Margaret.
And Bill added: "Any sensible person cannot take this (virus) lightly. It has been a worrying time."
Another couple, Jenny and Alex Stewart, have been keeping on top of things by walking a lot together and Alex is a keen golfer.
Jenny (83) said: "I got quite excited when I knew I was getting my vaccine. We have two grandchildren and it has been tough not seeing them as often as we would have liked. Our granddaughter stands at our gate and waves to us, which has been lovely."
The couple were keen bowlers, indoors and lawn, and look forward to enjoying that again in the future.
Paula Broughton, staff nurse, said: "It is a big day and we feel honoured to be part of this. We are really proud of the team here. This is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel."
And nurse practitioner Jo Fraser-Mackenzie said: "I hope in time things will improve and this is a glimmer of hope."
An NHS Grampian spokesperson said: "We have started vaccinating members of our over-80 population with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine."
Evidence suggests that the first dose offers protection for up to 12 weeks. The second dose will be delivered between three to 12 weeks after the first.
"Clinics will expand over the coming days and weeks in line with supply into Grampian.
"We know interest in getting vaccinated is very high.
"We would stress again that we will be in touch with people directly to offer them vaccine appointments. Please do not contact your GP practice or other healthcare professionals."