Vaccination staff and volunteers praised on first anniversary of region’s drive to protect public against Covid-19

Staff and volunteers behind the coronavirus vaccination programme in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have been thanked for continually going above and beyond during the first year of the region’s drive to protect people against Covid-19.

Thanks to the hard work of all those involved in the vaccination programme, more than 1.7 million vaccines have been given since the very first was administered at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon on Wednesday 9 December 2020.

In the week that followed, community-based vaccination centres across the region opened their doors, with the Steam Museum in Swindon, the Corn Exchange in Devizes and Combe Down Surgery near Bath among the first to go live.

Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “Simply put, our vaccination drive would not have been possible without the help and support of every single person working at one of our vaccine centres, either on the frontline or behind-the-scenes.

“It’s 100 per cent down to them that we have been able to deliver a staggering 1.7 million vaccines in the space of just 12 months, and I’d like to use this one-year anniversary to offer my personal thanks to everyone who has worked so hard.

“From the vaccinators who have given out hundreds of jabs in a single day to the car park attendants who have had to battle freezing temperatures and unbearable heatwaves, your dedication has made a difference to so many people’s lives and your continued support as we move forward has never been more appreciated.”

Praise for the region’s vaccine army has also come from survival expert Bear Grylls, who volunteered at the Steam Museum in Swindon during the first phase of the vaccination drive.

He said: “It was a true privilege to volunteer alongside so many true British heroes.

“To hear their stories and see how dedicated so many unsung helpers have been during this last year is a reminder that a kind, courageous and selfless spirit is alive and well throughout our country.”

Although a year on from the start of the vaccination programme, the threat of coronavirus is still very real, and with new variants emerging, people are urged to continue coming forward for their Covid-19 vaccine.

Some GP-led vaccination sites that had previously intended to leave the programme, such as Spencer’s Sport and Social Club in Melksham, will now continue offering vaccinations in the new year.

Becky Reynolds, Director of Public Health, Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “I would like to thank all the staff and volunteers who have worked so hard over the past year to get so many jabs into arms. It has been a huge effort but there is much more to be done.

“For those who have not taken up their first or second vaccine doses, please do so as this offer is a continuing one and it is vital that people take up all the vaccines that they are offered to stay protected.”

Booster vaccines are expected to be made available to those under the age of 40 before the end of December but, until that time, people are asked to wait to be contacted before attempting to book an appointment or visiting a vaccination site.

For more information on the local rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, and to read personal stories from people involved in the vaccination programme, visit