FORMER Mayor of Bury Sheila Magnall is urging residents to be vaccinated after becoming one of the first to get her jab at the borough’s latest 'vax' centre.

Ramsbottom Civic Hall opened its doors yesterday (Thursday, January 14) for Covid-19 jabs, following the opening of vaccination centres at the Elizabethan Suite in Bury, Bealey’s in Radcliffe and at Prestwich Walk-in Centre.

Around 11,000 Bury residents in the top priority groups, such as the over-80s and care home residents and staff, have now had the first dose of the two-stage vaccine as the rollout continues at pace.

Mrs Magnall, former Ramsbottom councillor and Mayor in 2009/10, had no hesitation in taking up her invitation.

“I was very impressed with the set-up at Ramsbottom and grateful to all the volunteers who are helping to run what is quite an operation,” said Sheila, aged 80.

“My advice to anyone who is invited for a vaccination is – absolutely, do it! It’s the only way out of this problem. I’ll be glad when we can start going out again and taking part in all the activities we’ve been missing. The sooner we can get back to it the better.”

Residents who are eligible for a Covid jab will be contacted by their GP – please do not contact your doctor’s surgery before then.

People who have had the first jab are reminded that they need to return for a second injection to be fully protected. Attend on the day you have been given – if this needs to change, your GP will contact you.

Cllr Andrea Simpson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “By the day, more of our most elderly and vulnerable residents are being protected from this deadly virus.

“But we cannot let down our guard. It will take months for the vaccine to be rolled out to all age groups, so we must follow the lockdown rules – stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives.”

Fin McCaul, long-term conditions lead for NHS Bury CCG, said: “We’re working flat out at Ramsbottom to vaccinate all those who have been invited for their vaccination.

“I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all the volunteers who are helping us; to the practice staff, doctors, nurses and community pharmacists working so hard as a team to operate the centre; and to all the patients who have been so kind and amazing to work with and for maintaining social distancing.”

He added: “Please wait to be contacted by your GP for a vaccination – there’s no need to contact your doctor’s surgery, as the staff there are busy dealing with other patients. We are vaccinating people in priority order according to national guidelines, and everyone will receive an invitation when it is their turn.”