A BURY pensioner had become the first person in Greater Manchester to receive the new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

Patients over the age of 80 attending their scheduled outpatients appointments at Rochdale Infirmary were first in line this week after the hospital’s Pharmacy team took delivery of the vaccine on Monday (January 4).

The team at Rochdale, part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, worked together at pace to plan in the appointments for appropriately identified patients who were already due to attend an outpatients appointment at the hospital, enabling them to be offered the jab at a time that was convenient to them.

Barbara Tobias, 84, from Bury, was the first patient to receive the vaccine after attending her scheduled outpatient appointment for an ultrasound scan and said she was "over the moon" to have had her jab at the same time.

She said: “I spoke to my daughter who lives in Arizona yesterday, and she mentioned that perhaps I should ask about the jab when I came for my appointment, and here I am actually receiving it!

"It really is wonderful. I’m very excited about it, and would definitely say to anyone if they get the chance to have it, please do take the opportunity to protect yourself and others, it’s so important.”

Barbara added that the vaccine had given her a real confidence boost about her health and that she would feel even safer now, particularly as she has regular carers coming into her home to help look after her.

The team are now busy working with colleagues across the health and care system to ensure that priority groups including care home residents and staff, people aged over 80, and frontline NHS staff are able to receive the new vaccine.

Sue Anderton, Divisional Director of Nursing for Planned Care including Vaccinations at Rochdale Infirmary said: “The rollout of the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine is absolutely game-changing for our patients and staff here in Rochdale borough and more widely across our neighbouring communities. It gives us an additional tool in our armoury to help us protect people and prevent the spread of the virus, which is fantastic. Every patient has a personal story behind why they want to receive the vaccine, and it’s wonderful to be able to play our part in helping them feel safer and more secure.”

Steve Taylor, Chief Officer for Rochdale Care Organisation at the NCA said: “We are very proud to be the first hospital vaccine hub in Greater Manchester to have been able to deliver the new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccinations. We now have access and supply of both vaccines across our NCA hospitals for our patients and patient-facing healthcare staff. It’s a significant step forward for us in the fight against Covid, and it means we can protect as many of our patients and staff as possible as the rollout continues.

“I’d like to thank our staff who are working so hard behind the scenes in both clinical and non-clinical teams to enable this work to happen quickly and safely. I’d also like to remind all patients across Rochdale and the wider Greater Manchester community that you will be contacted directly by the NHS and invited to receive your covid vaccine when the time is right, and I’d also like thank you for your co-operation and patience at this time.”