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Student vaccinations at KU ‘the ultimate hope’

By Laurynas Puikys Feb 15, 2021
Photo courtesy of Kingston University.

After a successful Covid-19 vaccine rollout to the highest risk groups in the community, Kingston University hopes to vaccinate students once the government guidance allows doing so.

Head of Public Affairs and Insight at Kingston University, Jennifer Edwards, says that students should be able to get a jab in order to feel safe when they return to campus.

“That’s the ultimate hope. Hopefully, the government will roll it out to everyone, and I think they are certainly on track to do so.

“If the university is going to run a vaccine clinic at that point, that will be, hopefully, something that students could potentially access,” Edwards said.

KU teamed up with local GPs and medical centres to open a vaccination site in December and became one of the first centres in the capital to offer the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.

“We have been working with our GP networks for a number of years as part of our civic commitment and it was a natural progression of those partnerships.

“Our GP partners approached us and asked us if they could have some of our facilities to assist them in their vaccination program. It was done primarily through GP networks, the primary care networks, and the clinical commissioning group.

“Actually, the issue for a lot of GP practices is that their practices aren’t set up for doing [vaccinations], and they don’t have the right social distancing space.

“They also have to get on with their day job of treating patients that don’t need to be vaccinated and they have other ailments and health conditions. That was very much why they came to us,” Edwards said.

Before Christmas, when the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved, the university worked with Fairhill Medical Practice to allow them to use the health centre.

“We provided marshals to make sure that the older people got from A to B and provided tea and coffee to make sure they got a warm drink afterwards. It was very cold in December”, Edwards said.

The vaccination centre’s working hours depend on the supply of the vaccines – currently, the university is receiving both Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines.

“It varies depending on supply and on the number of different practices we have on some clinics.

“In our busiest day, which was Sunday 31 January, we vaccinated over 2,300 people. It was a fantastic achievement,” Edwards said.

With Kingston University being one of the few universities around the country to offer vaccinations to the highest risk groups, Edwards says the university is very keen to support the local community.

“It’s not even a national effort, it’s an international effort. We will have to make sure as many people as possible get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“There are very few universities so far that are doing these clinics we’re one of the few who started doing that.

“Hopefully it’s something that as it becomes normality to have the vaccinations more frequently, I think it’s something we’re very keen to make sure that we are carrying on supporting our GP partners and our local community,” Edwards said.

By Laurynas Puikys

Journalism student from Kingston University and Editor of The River. Main interests: books, basketball and motorsports.

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