'Smooth operation' helps Saxmundham top nationwide table for vaccine rate

Dr John Harvard with his Holly-Anne Holland, Lynette Feller and Remi Read

Dr John Harvard with his Holly-Anne Holland, Lynette Feller and Remi Read - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A Saxmundham GP has said "great power and commitment" from healthcare workers and volunteers have helped the neighbourhood reach the highest percentage of coronavirus vaccinations in England.

Data released by NHS England to February 28 has revealed 5,590 people in the Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA) for Saxmundham and Coldfair Green had received at least their first dose of the jab.

Felixstowe East was the second most successful area.

MSOAs have an average population of 8,000 and there are 6,791 throughout England.

Senior partner Dr Havard said Saxmundham Health is aiming to vaccinate the next age group ahead of schedule

Senior partner Dr Havard said Saxmundham Health is aiming to vaccinate the next age group ahead of schedule - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The data revealed that the east Suffolk neighbourhood had vaccinated almost two-thirds of its population against Covid at 66% - the highest in the country.

Saxmundham Health opened as a vaccination centre last month and managed to administer almost 1,000 jabs in a single day at the end of February.


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Senior partner Dr John Havard said the surgery's success was down to the hard work of staff and volunteers, who have sometimes worked through harsh weather conditions to run the operation efficiently.

Dr Havard added that the surgery was waiting for permission from NHS bosses to move onto the next age group after all of the centre's over-50s received their first dose.

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He said: "The secret is certainly teamwork. We've been so lucky to have a team ringing up all the patients. It's unleashed great power and commitment to get the job done.

The volunteers at the health centre have been praised for their efforts

The volunteers at the health centre have been praised for their efforts - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"Patients have been so good at arriving on time. It's almost like actors on a stage - it's such a smooth operation.

"The older people you have to ring up as you can't always text them. But they really want a vaccine - we have been fortunate with that.

"We've put a film on the website so people know what to expect when they come for their vaccine. That's the key to it.

"NHS England has done a fantastic job in vaccinating 22million people. We've done somewhere between 5,500 and 6,000 and we finished our over-50s last month.

"We're waiting on permission to start the next age group. We would love to get everyone in the area vaccinated.

"The volunteers have made this a whole success. They have been out in the snow, dealing with the public."

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