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Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust join forces to lead on NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme

Nurses checking vaccination equipment

Solent NHS Trust has joined the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS by beginning to administer vaccinations to NHS community and mental health staff via a dedicated COVID-19 vaccination hub in Southampton.

Within the hub lies a team of devoted doctors, nurses and paramedics as well as other healthcare and administrative staff from both Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust who have opted to come and assist the programme. Staff from both Trusts have come together to work as one, helping to play their part in the nationwide vaccine efforts.

Alan Dobson, Senior Matron at Solent NHS Trust was one of the first to start vaccinating at the hub when it opened last week. With extensive experience of working in busy emergency departments before coming to Solent, Alan is very familiar with the importance of keeping people safe, well and out of hospital. He speaks about becoming part of the vaccination team and what getting the vaccine meant to him.

Alan said: “Opening the hub was a fantastic experience, everyone has worked so hard to get it up and running. We finished the first shift with such a buzz. The thought that we are going to be making such a big difference to people’s lives, especially in such an uncertain time is fantastic and a real privilege.”

He continues: “I was so eager to be part of the programme and when I got the call, I was over the moon. The vaccine will give so much hope to people. I have worked in healthcare for a long time, spending most of my time in busy emergency departments. I know what it’s like to feel stretched. If we can vaccinate as many people as possible and help protect our communities, as well as the NHS, it will give us the best chance against this virus. There is now a light at the end of the tunnel.”

On getting the vaccine himself, Alan said: “It was such a relief, and it was really straightforward. I am so grateful to receive the vaccine - it means I can continue to provide the best care to patients whilst feeling protected.”

Gary Cleeve, Consultant Nurse at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has been working at the vaccine hub since it opened last week. He said: “Coming together with Solent NHS Trust to help administer the vaccine makes it an even greater feeling.

“On paper, we might be separate organisations but we both have one common goal here, which is to protect as many people as possible by giving them the vaccine. I would really urge people to come forward to get vaccinated as it’s our best chance of returning back to ‘normality’.”

The centre, which is located at Oakley Road in Millbrook, Southampton, is currently being used to vaccinate health and social care staff. It will also be opened up further as a vaccination centre to provide vaccinations to the public in line with recommendations from the JCVI, the coming weeks. The NHS will contact you when it is your turn to be vaccinated. 

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