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Care staff first in line for COVID-19 vaccine

Published: 15 December 2020

A Derbyshire County Council care worker helping support residents recover from COVID-19 is one of the first in line for the new vaccine.

Carolyn Chittim, a care worker with us for 37 years, is to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine today (Tuesday) at the Royal Derby Hospital.

She’s not only doing it for herself, but also for the elderly and frail people she looks after. She said: 

“I don’t want to get poorly with covid. I’ve had the flu jab this year for the first time, and I want to protect myself. I also don’t want to pass it on to anybody. Can you imagine if you did that?”

As a care worker, Carolyn, 58, has been supporting adults with a learning disability at our Newhall Day Centre near Swadlincote for 37 years, retiring in June from that job. For the last 11 years, she’s also been a relief residential social care worker at The Bungalow in Swadlincote, which offers respite and life skills for adults with a learning disability.

When it became a COVID-only unit in late September, she didn’t hesitate to step up to the plate. 

She said: 

“People who’ve been very poorly with COVID need our help and support. They’re amazing people and they’ve all got a lifetime of stories to tell.”

Since opening in its new role, 51 COVID-19 positive Derbyshire residents have been cared for at The Bungalow, getting the help and support they need to recover their strength before going home or to a place they call home. With 10 en-suite rooms, its layout lends itself to its new, temporary role helping people to leave hospital when they’re ready.

“It’s been quite tearful when the residents leave here, they become like your own grandma or grandad. It’s lovely to help them get better.”

Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for adult care Councillor Jean Wharmby said Carolyn would be the first of many of our care staff to get the new vaccine.

“It’s brilliant that our staff are among the first to be given the vaccine and that Carolyn is showing her true #DerbyshireSpirit by coming forward,

“By getting the vaccine, Carolyn will not only be protecting herself from the virus, she will be protecting her colleagues and the people she looks after.

“This is the biggest vaccination programme ever undertaken and it’s good news that the people who look after Derbyshire’s most vulnerable residents are being offered the chance to get it so quickly.”

Thanking Carolyn for coming forward to be immunised, Councillor Wharmby added:

“Our staff have been doing a fantastic job, working throughout the pandemic to support Derbyshire residents and I’d urge them all to follow Carolyn’s example. By getting the vaccine, we’ll all be able to return to a more normal way of life sooner.”