THE coronavirus vaccine programme is like “painting the Forth Bridge” and will require years of effort and collaboration, according to health bosses.

Since December more than three million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the East of England.

Although the roll-out was initially sluggish in north east Essex, Tendring went on to become the first area to jab more than 50 per cent of its adult population.

It is also understood 98 per cent of the area’s homeless cohort has been vaccinated, while a majority of people in nine priority groups have been given their first jab.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Speaking at a North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body meeting, chief executive Dr Ed Garratt said: “We are performing very well.

“It has been a huge team effort and we have had a huge number of members of the public come forward and support the programme and I am very grateful to them.

“We have made excellent progress and that progress has had a positive impact, and while we have focused on the many, we have also focused on the few.

“One of the aspects of the programme I am most proud of is we have thought about inequalities and supported all of our people and communities.”

Pam Green, chief operating Officer for North East Essex CCG, echoed the sentiments of Dr Garratt in celebrating the volunteers.

She said: “None of this could have been done without the support of our voluntary sector and we really have managed to deliver a huge amount.

“It has been a great success and it is humbling and a privilege to be part of the vaccine programme, but it is groundhog day now.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

The health group is now turning some of its attention towards the roll-out of second doses, for which there is said to be a “guaranteed supply”.

This will be ramped up in May and will perhaps truly start to mark the beginning of the end for the coronavirus pandemic.

But Dr Garratt has warned the process of keeping people protected from the deadly virus could go on for some time.

He added: “There is talk of a re-vaccination programme from the Autumn, so we see this as painting the Forth Bridge, it is never going to be quite done.

“So looking to the future there will be a rolling programme around vaccinations for a long time.

“The collaboration and special relationships we have got around this are vitally important in order to continue these efforts over the coming months, if not years.”