Covid: Sunderland vaccine roll-out 'bittersweet'

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Dr Fadi Khalil's father died with Covid

A GP and medical director whose father died with coronavirus says the vaccine roll-out feels "bittersweet" because it has come too late for many people.

Dr Fadi Khalil is managing the vaccination operation at a primary care centre in Sunderland.

His team had vaccines for 975 patients but can take more and, across the city, there was capacity to vaccinate 18,000 a week, Dr Khalil said.

He urged people who were offered the jab to "please take it".

"My father passed away with Covid and I wish he was alive to be offered that vaccine," he said.

"It's a bit of a bittersweet moment.

"We are always thinking of those who couldn't get a chance of getting the vaccines."

The Pfizer/BioNTech jab is initially being given to patients aged 80 and over and some healthcare professionals.

Supplies from the government's first purchase of 800,000 doses have been sent to a number of GP-led community vaccination centres across the country.

The vaccine must be kept at -70C (-94F) before it is released for use.

"Logistically it hasn't been the easiest," Dr Khalil said.

"We had to go through supply chains, delivery, staffing the call centre to call patients in, as well as staffing the site."

But everything had been "well managed", he said.

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