Sandhurst resident and community volunteer, 105-year-old Margaret Schaap, has spoken of her heartfelt thanks for the NHS after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine through a GP-led service in Bracknell.
Margaret, a retired fabric designer and craft teacher who has won two civic awards for her voluntary work in the community, was amongst hundreds of residents aged 80 and over to be invited to have their vaccination on the first day of the service going live yesterday morning (22 December). The clinic will continue over the coming days.
Margaret, who played tennis with Sandhurst Tennis Club until she was aged 82, said:
“This year has been difficult for so many of us as we have spent time away from doing things we enjoy the most.
“As someone who has always loved to keep very active, gardening and walking, as well as travelling everywhere by bus, I look forward to the day when I can do this all again.
“I hope the vaccine will improve everything for us all going forward.”
“I really miss attending Sandhurst and Yateley Methodist Church, The Women’s Institute and Sandhurst Gardening Club, all of which I was attending regularly before the start of the pandemic.”
Accompanying Margaret to receive her vaccine, her daughter said:
“It has been very difficult for mum to maintain her fitness levels over the months, even though she walks up and down the drive several times a day and potters in the garden when the weather is on side.
“She even helped me make some scrubs recently for the ICU at Frimley Park Hospital and for Army medics across the UK.
“I know that mum is very excited to resume all her hobbies as soon as it is safe to do so.”
“For me personally, having the vaccine is a sense of relief that is palpable.”
People will be required to have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 21 days apart, and may not be protected until at least 7 days after their second dose of vaccine.
Local GP and CEO and Medical Director for Berkshire Primary Care (BPC), Dr Prash Patel, said:
“Being involved in a genuine solution to lead our communities back towards some semblance of normality is nothing short of amazing. This is a real moment in local history.
"BPC has always with the support of its GP Members provided, at scale, high quality services to its patient community.
“A vaccination service to prevent COVID-19 is by far one of the most important programmes to be delivered by our team. Its success will allow us as a community to escape what has become for many an extremely miserable half-life.
"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.”
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.