The Vaccine Makers of Heeley show British spirit at its best
In 2012 I went to the London Olympics.
I was blown away by the Games Makers. Smiley friendly, guiding the way, creating an atmosphere that felt safe and welcoming, It was the British spirit at its best. This week I’ve experienced that again, with our ‘Vaccine Makers’.
We are full steam ahead at the Mathews practice Vaccine Hub. We are eight GP practices local to Heeley who have joined forces to administer Covid vaccines as fast and safely as possible. It has been a phenomenal effort by practice managers and staff to organise and set up. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and admin teams have jumped forward for shifts, often volunteering as extras. It’s been a proper team effort.
Good as our practice teams have been, it has made all the difference to have the support from local community volunteers, our ‘Vaccine Makers’. Organised by Heeley Trust, each day we’ve had a consistent team of local people performing roles around the site to keep people safe and ensure the smooth running of the vaccine centre. They are checking masks, squirting hand gel on everyone at the door, managing the waiting area and flow through our one-way system, ensuring social distancing. All measures to minimise the risk of C ovid spread. But equally important they are greeting folk with warmth and a smile, making people feel they matter and live in a place that cares. For many this is the first time they’ve been out of the house in ten months. How important that they don’t just feel like a number to be jabbed and ticked off a list. This is what Vaccine Makers do, no matter the weather.
Working as a team we managed to vaccinate 2,500 of our most at risk people across just three and a half days, that is five per cent of the people who live in our area. We have only had a couple of people feel a little dizzy. I’m sure the positive spirit on our site has reduced the nerves and reactions to the injections. Our Vaccine Makers have helped the community demonstrate to each other that the way to come out of this pandemic is together. In this pandemic when we are frightened and separated, there is a risk we forget the value of our community, and how we need to work together to look after each other.