Hospital 'absolutely ready' for arrival of coronavirus vaccine

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings LynnMain Entrance

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, where staff will be offered coronavirus vaccine as soon as it becomes available - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Staff at a Norfolk hospital will be offered the coronavirus vaccine as soon as it becomes available, its ruling board heard today.

The UK has placed orders for 100m doses of the Oxford vaccine - enough to vaccinate most of the population - with a rollout expected within weeks if the jab is approved by regulators. A vaccine from the US drug firm Moderna is also expected to be available later this month.

The NHS said those most at risk from Covid-19, including health workers and care home residents, would be given the vaccine first.

Denise Smith, chief operating officer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, told its monthly board meeting:  "We are absolutely ready, we have arrangements in place and we will be delighted when we are able to vaccinate our staff."

She added some 91pc of front line staff had already been vaccinated against 'flu.    

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Board member Dr Ian Mack said it was vital to vaccinate staff as soon as possible because of the risks they faced.

The meeting heard 42 positive patients were currently being treated at the QEH.  Some 39 of them are being treated on wards, while three are in intensive care.

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The board was told that, as of November 23, the  hospital had treated 571 patients of whom 345 had recovered and 173 had died.

Papers considered by the board said there was still a risk that the hospital could be overwhelmed by an increase in infectious patients experiencing acute respiratory symptoms needing intensive care.

But the newly-purchased former BMI Sandringham private hospital on part of the QEH site had now fully-opened, offering 25 extra beds for elective surgery.

During the meeting Brexit was flagged up as a potential risk to the hospital, with fears that failing to reach a deal before leaving the EU could impact on the supply of medicines.

But board members heard extra stocks were being held nationally and there were no current concerns.

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