Michael Eavis praises NHS and volunteers after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination

Somerset dairy farmer and founder of the Glastonbury Festival, Michael Eavis, 85, received his Covid-19 vaccination on New Year’s Eve and is looking forward to a better 2021 for everyone.

Michael Eavis said: “It is amazing to be in one of the first groups of people to have the Covid-19 vaccine in Somerset.

“It is great that everyone across the country will be offered the vaccine in due course. It is really important that everyone takes the opportunity to have the free vaccine when it is offered to them – it is our only real chance of protecting ourselves and our friends and family from this disease.

“As far as the Festival is concerned, wouldn't it be wonderful to get the majority of our population vaccinated before June 2021, so that we can celebrate next summer in proper 'Glastonbury style'.

“The staff in the vaccination centre have been brilliant – really friendly. They’ve answered all my questions and it’s been very well organised. I’d like to say a big thank to everyone involved, including all the wonderful volunteers.”

Michael received his Covid-19 vaccination at the GP-led community vaccination site at Shape Centre Mendip District Council offices in Shepton Mallet. GP-led sites have been developed by primary care networks (groups of local GP practices) who have been working closely together to develop detailed plans to deliver Covid-19 vaccinations in community locations. Additional ways to access the Covid-19 vaccine will be available over the coming weeks.

Dr Amelia Randle, GP at Park Medical Practice and vaccination lead for the Central Mendip primary care network, said “We are delighted to be starting the vaccination programme for our most vulnerable patients. It has been a huge amount of work, in a short space of time, but we have seen fantastic team work from all our colleagues from neighbouring GP practices and, together, we have been able to set up the next local vaccination services.

“It has been a very emotional time, not only for the first patients to be invited to the clinic, but for all the health and care teams involved in the planning of these events.

“We know that lots of people are eager to find out when they may be vaccinated, or have questions about the vaccination programme, but, please don’t contact your local GP surgery – we will contact you when the time is right and we will be able to answer all of your questions when you come for your appointment.”

Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, said: “The staff at Mendip, working with our partners in health, have been outstanding. They have reconfigured our council offices – located in the heart of the community - and helped to roll out this vital vaccine programme to our residents, so we can all look forward with hope, to a happier and healthier 2021.”

Roll out of the vaccination programme so far

On 06 December Yeovil District Hospital (YDH) was announced as one of the first 50 hospital hubs to receive supplies of vaccine and vaccinations at the hospital began in the week beginning 07 December.

At the start of the week beginning 14 December, vaccinations began at four GP-led sites developed by primary care networks (groups of local GP practices) who have worked closely together to develop detailed plans to deliver Covid-19 vaccinations in community locations. The first four GP-led sites where patients received vaccinations were at Taunton Vale Healthcare, Taunton; The Mulberry Centre, Berrow; West Mendip Community Hospital, Glastonbury; and The Gateway Centre in Yeovil.

Towards the end of the week beginning 14 December, vaccinations also began at three further GP-led sites - at Frome Medical Centre, Minehead Community Hospital and the Henhayes Community Centre, in Crewkerne.

Vaccinations began at two further GP-led sites – at Mendip District Council Offices and North Petherton Rugby Club in the week beginning 28 December.

These sites have worked through the complicated logistics required to deliver the vaccine safely in a suitable environment. This involves ensuring we have all of the kit that we need including clinical supplies, IT equipment, printed patient leaflets and bins; that we have a range of colleagues on hand to greet patients, explain the vaccine to them and take informed consent, draw up the vaccine, administer it and record it; and ensuring that all these site can be appropriately managed, including considering a range of aspects including infection prevention and control, cleaning and appropriate traffic management.

Vaccinations in care homes in Somerset began in the week beginning 28 December.