Helping the
vaccine effort

As part of our overall response to the pandemic, AHSN staff have used their clinical and research skills – or have volunteered – to help with the major roll out of the vaccination at their local centres. Read more here about Geoff, Rob, Michael, and Nadia’s work.

Geoff – vaccinator extraordinaire

Geoff Cooper, patient safety programme manager, volunteered to support his vaccination centre, and worked on a one-day-a-week basis.

As a nurse, Geoff is able to work as a clinical vaccinator, and has been vaccinating just over 100 people a day. As of April 2021, the centre he works at is approaching a total of 20,000 people vaccinated.

Geoff said: “It’s great to be working clinically with the public again.”

“Being part of a multi-disciplinary team delivering care at this time has been great for my own wellbeing.”

Dr Rob – trial site support

Dr Rob Hull, our research and innovation associate, acted as logistics support to get Wessex vaccine trial sites up and running, working with NIHR’s Clinical Research Network for Wessex.

Rob said: “Initially, I spent quite a lot of time looking at different buildings in commercial, local authority, and NHS spaces across Southampton and Bournemouth, and later Portsmouth; working out costs, suitable people flow, accessibility for participants, while also working with the University of Southampton - who were fantastic in offering some of their facilities - to provide the studies with temporary accommodation.”

Rob at the Southampton (Royal South Hants Hospital) trial site

“The other side of this was finding and securing suitable equipment for the trials, under pressure, and getting all of the necessary secure systems and building works completed.”

Michael and Nadia – vaccine volunteers

Meanwhile, in Portsmouth: Michael Goodeve and Nadia Kuftinoff have been volunteering at their local vaccination centre at St James’s Hospital, Milton.

Nadia, who has mostly been helping guide people around the large site, said: “Once the attendees have had their jab, I give a little cheer, they cheer back, and sometimes they want to pause for a chat. I listen to them tell me how they cannot wait to see their grandchildren, how the jab did not hurt in the slightest, how they will see me again in a few weeks.”

Michael, who has been primarily working inside the vaccine centre, “Mostly, my job has been to direct people to available staff for their pre-vaccine assessments. I usually manage seven or eight assessment rooms - helping people get quickly through the process, and then safely onto the area where they receive the vaccine.”

“I have been struck by how much energy and enthusiasm the volunteers, clinicians - and even Naval staff - have, and how everybody wants to help beat the virus back.”