Second anniversary of COVID-19 vaccination programme marked with new report and booster plea

Two years on since the NHS in Leeds delivered the first covid jabs in the district, health leaders have published a report into people’s experience of the vaccination programme while calling on people to get boosted ahead of Christmas.

The UK was the first in the world to start the life-saving vaccinations, with the first jab given exactly two years ago on 8 December. Since then, the NHS has delivered more than 143 million doses of the covid-19 vaccine – nearly 1.9 million in Leeds – equating to an average of over 196,000 doses a day, which has prevented countless hospitalisations and saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

To coincide with the anniversary, a report into people’s experiences of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Leeds has been published this week. The report is the culmination of a year-long project which saw nearly 30,000 people sharing their experience of having the vaccine – the single biggest survey about the country’s vaccination programme.

As the scale of the vaccination programme became clear, staff working on public involvement in local health and care organisations began to discuss how to capture people’s feedback so that any learning could be shared with vaccination teams. From these conversations two separate but aligned surveys developed – Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s Friends and Family Test, and NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group’s online survey for community-based vaccine centres. By the end of the project, nearly 30,000 people had reported back on their experiences at 101 different vaccination clinics in the city, giving an average score of 9.8 out of 10.

Sam Prince, who heads up the Leeds vaccination programme, said: “Two years on since the vaccination programme started, it’s easy to forget how scared many people were, particularly those who were most at risk and who had been shielding. The vaccination brought hope for a return to normal life, and people’s responses in the surveys reflect the emotion of that time. This report gives us much to build on and learn from, and we’ll be using this learning for future vaccination programmes.

“The determination and dedication of NHS staff and volunteers up and down the country to roll out the vaccine is something we can all look back on with great pride. It’s thanks to them, our GP, pharmacy and city council colleagues, that we have managed to get back to a pre-pandemic way of life again and look forward to a Christmas without restrictions.”

But with cases of COVID-19 on the rise again and people set to gather for the festive period, the NHS is urging anyone eligible for a booster to come forward now.

Ms Prince added: “While COVID may feel like a thing of the past, the health service is facing huge pressure from all angles, and we continue to deal with COVID hospitalisations as well as the resurgence of flu and other respiratory viruses. Just as it was two years ago, the best thing you can do to protect yourself and help the NHS is to make sure you are up to date with both your covid and flu jabs.”

“There’s just two weeks until Christmas – which is exactly the amount of time to takes to get back up to around 90 per cent protection against serious illness from covid. Please book an appointment today or find your nearest service offering walk-in vaccinations to help keep you and others safe this winter.”

Everyone aged 50 and over is eligible for the booster, along with anyone who has a condition putting them at increased risk from COVID. This includes people who are immunosuppressed (or who live with someone who is) and pregnant women, as well as health and care staff and unpaid carers.

You can find your nearest walk-in clinics at or book an appointment at or by calling 119, free of charge. Vaccination centres are also offering first and second vaccines so it’s never too late to get whichever dose you need.


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