Retired doctors return to work for vaccine roll-out
David and Janet Spence. Picture: Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group
RETIRED doctors Janet and David Spence have gone back to work as volunteers to help give people in the Downend area their COVID-19 jabs.
The married couple are part of the team of more than 500 volunteers, aged 16 to 75, who have joined in the effort to vaccinate more than 300,000 people in South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset over the past three months.
The volunteers include students, farmers, air crew, bar staff, artists and drivers, who have worked alongside retired doctors, nurses and dentists on the UK’s biggest ever vaccination programme.
Dr Spence and Dr Spence are part of the volunteer team at Network 4 Primary Care Network, which includes the Downend Health Group, Leap Valley Medical Centre and Emersons Green Medical Centre, and has been vaccinating people at Christchurch Family Medical Centre in North Street.
Janet said: “David and I were keen to get involved as soon as we could, so we started off marshalling outside the practice and then completed our online training so we could vaccinate and act as clinical shift leads.
“Supporting our colleagues with vaccinating their patients has been a brilliant experience. It’s so uplifting to work as part of a GP surgery team again and to be back in a patient-facing role helping with the COVID-19 response.”
People were being reassured that every adult in the region will still get the vaccine by July despite supply problems which mean that plans to vaccinate people under 50 will be “paused” until May, to prioritise giving second doses to those who have had their first.
Bristol director of public health Christina Gray told the city’s health and well-being board on March 18 that there was “sufficient vaccine” to give all over-50s their second jab by the end of April.
*The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the week ending March 14 was 4 in the Office for National Statistics’ Downend South area, down from 20 four weeks earlier. No exact figure was published for Downend North, where the ONS said the number was “less than 3” (down from 13).
In Staple Hill North the total was 5 (down from 12 on February 14), in Staple Hill South & Kingswood North West it was 13 (up from 6), in Mangotsfield it was 5 (down from 20) and in Frenchay & Great Stoke it was 4 (down from 17).
In the four weeks to March 5, 32 South Gloucestershire residents died with COVID-19: 17 in hospital, 12 in care homes and three at home. The total number for the year to date is 130.