KU vaccination centre protecting local community

Since December last year, Kingston University, in partnership with the local GPs, has been offering coronavirus vaccines for the most vulnerable residents around the local area.

The university’s effort is well-received around the area, with those who have had the jab expressing their delight at the service on social media.

“We feel that it’s really important that the university is supporting this effort, because it’s not even a national effort, it’s an international effort,” said Jennifer Edwards, Head of Public Affairs and Insight at KU.

“We are very keen to make sure that we are carrying on supporting our GP partners and our local community in any way that we can.

“There are very few universities so far that are doing these vaccination clinics. I feel very pleased that we are doing this and hopefully, it is something that becomes normality to have the vaccinations more frequently.” 

When the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved in the UK on December 2 last year, KU worked with the local Fairhill Medical Practice to allow them to use the university’s premises to vaccinate the most vulnerable patients in the area.

“[Patients] get sent a link to access a registration system via their GP practices. If they don’t have access to digital technology, they can talk to the practice’s receptionist to book them in manually,” Edwards said.

The university also provides support for patients coming in with the help of marshalls.

“We give [patients] some waiting room space in our main building because with the Pfizer vaccine you have to have a 15-minute observation period once you have it.

“We also make sure we provide car parking, provide the facilities and the marshall support to ensure the patients can get safely from their cars to the vaccination centre.

“We also provide tea and coffee to make sure they got a warm drink afterwards,” Edwards said.

Edwards said that the vaccination centre’s location in John Galsworthy building was chosen because students are not using it at the moment. In the future, the university will have to adapt to the situation if the centre is going to remain open.

However, for the last three months, the centre’s opening and its mission has been acknowledged on social media and even on national news channels, especially after on January 31 KU vaccinated over 2,300 people at the site.

Andrew, who received a coronavirus vaccine at KU said: “It was efficient. I booked in with the marshall, queued a little, only about five minutes, went in and gave my details, had the vaccine and then went to the room to wait 15 minutes. It was all well-staffed, everything seemed efficient.”

Another patient Carl said: “I was really impressed with the organisation that had been put in place. The whole process was very slick and the staff were very professional and in extremely good spirits.”

Edwards said that it is pleasing to see people getting vaccinated at KU: “It’s really nice to see people feeling very relieved when they’ve had their vaccinations, because that’s a huge worry, particularly in the older age groups, about Covid-19 and the impact it has on them.

“We have had some really lovely emails and on the day it’s lovely to speak to individuals there and they have been really impressed with all the marshalls that have been helping them. Our GP practices get a lot of positive feedback as well.”

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