Staff at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust were today becoming ‘vaccine super heroes’ by receiving both their COVID-19 booster jabs and their flu vaccinations to give themselves maximum protection for the winter.
Colleagues starting gathering early this morning at the vaccination hub in the Saddlers Centre in Walsall town centre to receive both injections to save staff time. Staff shouldn’t attend if they only want a flu vaccination, but can attend if they only want a COVID-19 booster jab.
Matron for Cardiology and Respiratory Ly Fletcher, who was the first person to have the COVID-19 vaccine at Walsall Manor Hospital, was one of them.
She said: “I wanted to get the booster to protect myself and those around me. I would recommend to anyone who meets the criteria to have the booster vaccine – we all need to protect each other.
“Having worked on critical care throughout the pandemic and experienced first-hand the detrimental effect on patients, staffs and others COVID can cause, I feel we’re not out of the pandemic.
“As the virus keep mutating, COVID is here to stay therefore I feel it’s important to protect ourselves, our patients and our loved ones. The healthcare workforce should take up boosters and seasonal flu vaccine to stay safe.”
Deputy Director of Nursing Caroline Whyte said: “I was really fortunate to be able to get my COVID vaccine on the first day we started vaccinating in England. I’m aware the first vaccine immunity starts to reduce month on month and the protection I had is now less. So having my booster means I’m still protecting my family, friends and work colleagues.”
Director of Estates and Facilities Jane Longden added: “I’m having the booster vaccination because I think it’s important for my own health and also for my family, friends and work colleagues. I feel in my role it’s my duty to do so.”
Consultant Paediatrician Gyan Sinha added: “I’ve had the booster to protect myself, family and friends, work colleagues and also my patients. It was really important for to get my booster as soon as possible. I booked as soon as I could.”
Eleanor Jane Westwood, Bank Admin, said: “As soon as I knew I met the criteria for the booster vaccine, I booked straight away. I want to protect those around me and myself.”
It is safe to have both vaccines at the same time – a post-vaccination observation period of 15 minutes is required for the COVID booster.
Director of People and Culture Catherine Griffiths urged staff to have both vaccines. She explained: “These vaccinations are critical to protecting our lives, livelihoods and our health and care system.
“So we’re asking staff to be vaccine superheroes and get both vaccinations – it’s the most effective way to boost our natural immunity and protect ourselves from these viruses.
“Flu and COVID-19 can both be life-threatening and spread more easily in winter when we are all crowded together inside. As they are two different viruses, we need both the flu jab and COVID-19 booster.
“Frontline workers are at an increased risk of contracting flu and it’s very easy for us to pass the virus on without knowing. Even if we’re healthy, we can still get flu and spread it to our colleagues, our families and those we care for.
It’s time to prioritise your own health and wellbeing and arm yourself this winter – and beyond.”
Staff aged over 50 will have received a text inviting them to have their COVID-19 booster and they can book a slot.
Staff under 50 can walk into the Saddlers Centre for their vaccines between 8am and 7pm, seven days a week, as long as it has been six months since their second dose. Please have your NHS number and assignment number (available via ESR, on their payslip) to hand.