Emma Tucker has made history for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust by becoming the first staff member to receive the Covid vaccine on day two of the national roll out.
As a respiratory physiotherapy lead, she has seen at first hand the devastating effects of coronavirus on people during the past eight months through the care and support that she and her team deliver in hospitals and out in the community in Oxfordshire.
Vulnerable people with lung conditions like COPD as well as patients with debilitating post-Covid symptoms come under her team’s care. They strive to optimise the management of conditions for around 100 people each week via rehabilitation therapies, and also help early discharges and prevent readmissions to hospital.
“I’ve seen what Covid can do to people, women just like me who are really struggling,“ said the 41-year-old mum of two from Oxford. “It’s not just the elderly who get the virus. It doesn’t discriminate.
“So, I was in no doubt that I wanted to have the vaccine as soon as possible, not only to protect myself but also the vulnerable patients we care for.
“I feel totally privileged to be among those who have received the vaccine so early on as there are so many people who need it. But the vaccinations will mean I can continue working face-to-face with patients.
“For me the vaccine is just like our annual flu shot. I have that every year as it’s my duty of care and the Covid vaccine is no different. So, I hope that when the time comes and there is an opportunity for more of my Oxford Health colleagues to have the jab, that they follow my example.”
Emma received her vaccination at the Churchill Hospital thanks to colleagues at Oxford University Hospital’s Trust which opened as the first hospital hub in the region on Tuesday.
A small number of vaccines are being administered, with priority given to people aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers, who are being offered appointments for vaccinations, along with NHS and healthcare workers who are at higher risk or work in high risk areas.
The prioritisation has been set nationally by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Emma, was among a small group of Oxford Health staff, either assessed as high risk or working in a high risk areas. She will need a booster jab around 21 days later and should have immunity seven to 10 days after that.
Oxford Health Chief Executive Dr Nick Broughton was among many offering congratulations to Emma. He said: “It’s fantastic news that Emma and other colleagues are having the vaccinations so quickly.
“I am very grateful to colleagues at the OUH for facilitating the vaccination hub. We’re now looking forward to now rolling out the vaccination programme at pace so others can have this opportunity as soon as possible. I am looking forward to having mine when the time comes.”