Vaccination update: Tuesday, 16 February 2021
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust is proud to be the leading provider and co-ordinator for Kent and Medway’s COVID-19 large-scale vaccination centres.
It’s been less than a month since we opened our first large public vaccination centre at the Folca building (the old Debenhams store) in Folkestone and in those few weeks, we’ve not only vaccinated thousands of people from in and around the seaside town, we’ve also opened two further large centres in Kent, with a fourth to open very soon.
Our second opened at The Woodville in Gravesend on Monday, 1 February, serving the population of north Kent; and our third at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge followed a week later on Monday, 8 February to put us on the map in west Kent. Each centre has presented us with a set of unique challenges to overcome and, each time, we have been ready with a plan to get the site open and ready to vaccinate as soon as we could.
More than 3,300 people who didn’t already work for the trust applied for temporary jobs to support the vaccination programme, along with 1,500 of our own staff. To date, we have interviewed nearly 2,000 external candidates and more than 1,000 of them have begun working on the programme, alongside our existing staff. Between the three open sites, we have organised eight induction days and deployed 1,000 staff through our staff bank, where people can select shifts to suit them.
Together, with our partners in primary care and other NHS trusts, we have been part of a programme that has seen 85 per cent of people in the top four priority groups in Kent and Medway receive a first vaccination for COVID-19 (figures from Monday, 15 February 2021) and we are bursting with pride at what we have accomplished to date.
Last week, our Medical Director Dr Sarah Phillips travelled the length and breadth of the county in spite of the wintry weather to make sure in-patients in our community hospitals were vaccinated, along with her colleagues Julie Beavers, Lisa Scobbie and Sarah Gurr.
Sarah said: “Protecting vulnerable people in our communities has never been more important. Many of the patients in our hospitals have had a really rough time, so it was a pleasure to be able to visit them and vaccinate them at their bedside. Our community hospital patients become like family to us during their stay, so the team at each site was delighted when we arrived to vaccinate them. We’ve got procedures in place now to make sure everyone who is eligible for a vaccination can have one while they are in our hospitals.”
Dr Sarah Phillips and Julie Beavers vaccinate a patient at Westbrook House, Thanet.