Saints past player Bill Adair is the first St Helens patient to receive Covid-19 jab.

GPs have begun vaccinating over 80s as part of NHS’s biggest ever vaccination programme and we are delighted that Saints past player Bill Adair is the first to receive the vaccine in St Helens!

St Helens CCG working with local GP practices have today started to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine to St Helens patients in a first positive step towards normality for the borough’s communities.

The primary care local vaccination service is one of the first designated local vaccination sites across the country to lead the biggest and most complex immunisation programme in the history of the NHS.

GPs and practice nurses will be administering the vaccine to people registered with a St Helens GP practice who are aged 80 and over.  The lifesaving vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder.  All those vaccinated will need to return for a booster jab 21 days later.

GP practices have been inviting people over the age of 80 for a jab, and are working with care home providers to ensure that residents, as well as care home staff, are vaccinated in situ when further vaccines arrive.

The first person in St Helens to receive the vaccine today was Saints Legend Bill Adair.  Bill, who turned 90 in May this year, is a patient at Hall Street Medical Centre:

“I was delighted to be invited to have my vaccine today at Saints having not been able to visit the ground and see a match for some time.  I turned 90 earlier this year and if I can have it, anyone can.  I can now look forward to spending time with my friends and family after Christmas, and being able to worry less about catching it as an older person.

“When you are offered the vaccine, my advice is ‘take it’ – it’s quick and painless and everyone here today has been so brilliant and have worked so hard to make this happen.” 

Bill Adair,  a flying winger who signed for Saints after leaving the Army in 1950 at the age of 20 and went on to join Liverpool City two years later. He emigrated to Canada in 1956, but returned shortly after and played one match for Leigh before concentrating on business interests.

He played just two First Team matches for the club in the 1950/1 season. He made his debut in the home league fixture against Hunslet in a 20 points to 14 victory in October, 1950. His second and final outing was a fortnight later on October 21st 1950 as Saints triumphed over Liverpool Stanley by 26 points to 4. On both occasions he played outside Welsh centre Viv Harrison on the left wing and the bulk of the scoring in both encounters was due to Steve Llewellyn and Viv Harrison.

Dr Hilary Flett, St Helens CCG GP Governing Body member and clinical lead for the Covid-19 vaccination roll out in the borough, and vaccinated Billy, said:

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is the single biggest immunisation programme in the history of the NHS and we are absolutely privileged and excited that the local vaccination site at the Saints stadium that our GP practices have worked so hard with the CCG to set up is one of the first to receive the vaccine and be at the forefront of delivery for GP patients in St Helens.

“As the programme rolls out, as a local vaccination site we will be providing the vaccine to those first who are the most vulnerable and at highest risk, as well as people who are frontline workers in the borough, and then the wider population of St Helens based on age and risk.  Your GP practice will call you when it is your turn to have the jab – please don’t contact them.

“Today is a momentous day and a milestone in our Covid-19 recovery as we work towards getting back to normal.  We have received and safely stored the vaccine and we are ready to go.”

Professor Sarah O’Brien, Clinical Accountable Officer for St Helens CCG and Executive Director of Integrated People’s Services at St Helens Council, added:

“Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to get us to this point and prepare for this roll out.  The vaccination programme will help us see a reduction in cases across our communities and keep people safe from Covid-19, especially those who are most at risk.

“To aid the success of the vaccination programme we are asking everyone to continue to follow the necessary restrictions in the local area, maintain social distancing, wash hands frequently and wear a face covering, so we can further supress the virus and allow our NHS to provide services without being overwhelmed.  By protecting the NHS we can saves more lives and treat more people.”

Across the country, vaccination centres treating large numbers of people including front line health and care workers will support the primary care and hospital hub roll out when further supplies of the vaccine come on stream.

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