Couple married for 50 years first to get vaccinated at new centre

Nigel and Rosemary getting the vaccine together. 

Husband and wife, Nigel and Rosemary, getting the vaccine together. - Credit: East and North Herts CCG

A couple who have been married for 50 years were the first to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations at the newly opened centre in Welwyn Garden City today.

Nigel and Rosemary from Letty Green, just outside the town, had their vaccinations sitting side-by-side, at the Roche Pharmaceuticals building in Shire Park. 

They said: “We are very happy to be getting our vaccinations – we have only really been going out to medical appointments so it’s good to be here today.”

The new centre is aimed at the over 70,  along with healthcare workers. 

Joint chief executive of Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System and Clinical Commissioning Groups, Dr Jane Halpin, said: “We now have five community pharmacies vaccinating people in our area, as well as dozens of GP-led vaccination centres serving their patients and a number of other large vaccination sites.

“We are in a strong position to protect even more people quickly, including those front-line social care and health staff who are supporting the most vulnerable in our communities every day."

Richard Erwin, general manager of pharmaceutical company Roche Products Limited, added: "We hope that by handing over our facilities, people living nearby will have another convenient place to receive their vaccination, and we can take one step closer to protecting many more people from COVID-19."

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Health and social care staff working in Herts will also be able to have their vaccination at the new Roche site, managed by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust.

Kamala from Welwyn Garden City was also looking forward to getting her vaccination and had no hesitation in recommending...

Kamala from Welwyn Garden City was also looking forward to getting her vaccination and had no hesitation in recommending the vaccine to others. - Credit: East and North Herts CCG

HCT’s chief executive, Elliot Howard-Jones, said: “This represents a big step forward in helping to beat the COVID-19 pandemic. My sincere thanks go to our project team and our school-age immunisation team who are working around the clock to deliver this programme.”

People should only attend for a vaccination if they have received a letter inviting them to book one and have already booked an appointment. Anyone attending for a vaccine appointment is asked to arrive at the time of their appointment to avoid the need to wait to be seen, and to help maintain social distancing at the vaccination centre.

HCT set the centre up with the support of East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group, Herts County Council, Herts Fire and Rescue, Roche Products Limited and volunteers.