Devraj Jhalam, had his COVID-19 jab on the first day that it became available through local GP-led services today (16/12).
Mr Jhalam, a retired engineer consultant, was one of several hundred patients aged 80 and over contacted by local GP services to make an appointment to receive the life-saving vaccine at a local community venue in the centre of the town. He understands more than many about the local COVID efforts, as his daughter is Dr Lalitha Iyer, a Slough GP and also the Medical Director of the NHS Frimley Collaborative of Clinical Commissioning Groups*.
Speaking shortly after receiving his vaccine, Mr Jhalam, said: “I would like to thank everyone at the NHS who has been helping in the fight against Covid even though a simple thanks doesn’t feel sufficient. I’m not sure how we can ever repay them for their tremendous dedication and selfless ways.
“I’m grateful to the NHS for giving me and others the opportunity to be one of the first to receive the vaccine locally.”
He jokingly added that he had felt part of the fight against Covid through his daughter’s hard work and efforts over the months. He said: “In our whole family, nobody has done what Lalitha has, which makes me very proud.”
Today’s (16/12) clinic in Slough is the first to go live within the community in East Berkshire and follows the initial roll-out of the vaccine at Wexham Park Hospital last week to priority and at-risk groups, as well as front line . There are plans for the vaccine to cover wider areas and groups – including care homes – in the coming days and weeks.
Dr Lalitha Iyer said: “Today has been an exciting and momentous milestone and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in today’s clinic which kicks starts the roll-out in Slough.
“On a personal note, I’m delighted that my 93-year-old father has received the first of two doses as it’s such a worry when you have elderly loved ones who you know could get covid and not do so well.
“Knowing that the vaccine will help protect him is so important and very heart-warming. It’s actually an emotional moment.”
She added: “Whilst it’s really exciting news that the new vaccine clinics will be providing another step closer on the path back to normal life, it’s really important that we all continue to follow all guidance to control the virus and save lives.”
Dr Nithya Nanda, a Clinical Director for one of Slough’s Primary Care Networks and a local GP, said: “I’ve been really pleased with the way today has gone.
“Many patients have been really excited, enthusiastic and happy to be here and to have a glimpse of a more normal life in the future.
“For us, it’s very exciting to be part of Wave One.”
He praised all those involved in today’s operation, from practice staff to local volunteers who acted as marshals, to the local council, and staff at the venue itself.
“This has been a real joint effort,” he said.
Health services are reminding people not to contact the NHS to arrange an appointment but to wait until they are contacted. The national vaccination programme is the largest ever undertaken by the NHS and will take many months to complete.