Greater Manchester’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout hit a major milestone this week with a mystery millionth resident receiving their life-saving jab.
This means that almost half of the city-region’s adult population have now had at least one dose of the vaccine, offering them much-needed protection against the potentially fatal disease.
As for who – exactly – the one millionth person to receive a vaccination was, we cannot be sure. Due to the sheer scale and speed of the programme the big moment came and went without much fanfare.
Christine Khiroya, immunisations and screening lead, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We know that the one millionth dose took place this week, so it could really have been anyone anywhere in Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs!
“With 78 GP-led vaccination centres, a large-scale vaccination centre at the Etihad Campus, hospital hubs and pharmacy sites all working flat out to get people vaccinated, it’s nigh on impossible to pinpoint exactly where and when the big moment took place.
“What I would say is it’s nice to know that someone out there is unknowingly our one millionth ‘customer’ and they now have the all-important protection from coronavirus.”
Among the candidates for the millionth person vaccinated in Greater Manchester are Michalakis Petrou and his sister Andrianna. They both received the vaccine at the Irish World Heritage Centre, Cheetham Hill, Manchester.
Michalakis said: “I got the vaccination because I wanted to keep the family safe, especially my sister who has learning disabilities. I’ve cared for her since mum and dad died and she’s braved coming down today with me to get her jab too.
“We’re really happy to have had the jab, everyone’s been so kind and professional. It’s amazing that one of us might be the millionth person to have the jab. Andrianna is glad she had it too, you can see that from the smile on her face.”
Sarah Price, interim chief officer, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, added: “We are immensely proud of the vaccination programme in Greater Manchester, and how far we’ve come since the first jabs in December.
“With a million first and second doses now given, it’s a moment to reflect and celebrate this achievement which has only been possible because of incredible joint working in Greater Manchester. I want to thank every single person involved in the rollout and for their continued hard work.
“And the hard work continues. We’re expecting a really busy few weeks as we complete the remaining cohorts to ensure everyone over 50 is offered a first jab by 15 April and running second vaccinations alongside this.”
Anyone aged over 55 who hasn’t had their vaccine can now go onto the national booking site and make an appointment, or they can wait to be contacted by their GP practice if that is more convenient for them and closer to home.