It was a huge logistical challenge to get a COVID-19 vaccination hub up and running – but 12 months on from administering the first jab Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is proud to have been part of history in the making.
Walsall Manor Hospital was the first site in the Black Country and West Birmingham to start administering the vaccination on Tuesday 8 December 2020 and, since moving the operation to the Saddlers Vaccination Centre last March, almost 200,000 have now received their vaccinations, a total that is expected to be reached this weekend.
Caroline Whyte, Deputy Director of Nursing at the Trust, said: “A year ago it was all hands on deck as we worked around the clock, together with so many colleagues, to get everything ready to be part of the largest ever vaccination programme the world has ever seen.
“We had already experienced a time like no other at the peak of the pandemic and it felt really empowering to make preparation for the vaccination programme knowing that this was one way our communities could better protect themselves against the virus. It has been a privilege to be involved in this programme; we have met so many lovely people and have heard some life-changing stories along the way.”
Caroline said so many colleagues had pulled together to get the hub up and running including “phenomenal” support from Kate Salmon, Divisional Director of Operations, Division of Medicine & Long Term Conditions, Will Roberts, Director of Operations, Division of Surgery and Sonia Chand, lead Pharmacist.
“We couldn’t have achieved this without the fantastic support of our operational teams, clinical teams, pharmacists, marshals, volunteers, Professional Development Team, Human Resources, the temporary staffing team, colleagues collating all the necessary data, Estates and Facilities, administrators, Communications…the list goes on!
“And I remember how emotional everyone felt when the first vaccine was administered last December.
“After such a tough time for NHS and social care staff and our communities it was fantastic to see the vaccines arrive and realise the huge impact this would make on our efforts to combat the pandemic.”
The Saddlers Vaccination Centre which opened after months of hard work and planning by the Walsall Together Partnership is open seven days a week from 8am-7pm.