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University staff and students step up to support the NHS vaccination programme

Friday, 15 January 2021

The University of Nottingham is supporting the NHS Covid-19 vaccinations programme, with two local vaccination services opening across its campuses and staff and students stepping up to help administer the vaccine to patients.

This week the doors have opened at a new vaccination service based on the University’s King’s Meadow Campus, which is set to be one of the largest sites in Nottinghamshire providing the vaccine to patients from across the city and wider county.

The new site will initially be predominantly used for vaccinating priority patients over the age of 80 years old.

Vaccines offer hope

In just over two weeks, the University & NHS teams mobilised staff to convert space into suitable vaccination pods ready to receive patients and to ensure that health and safety measures and essential facilities such as adequate car parking were in place.

One such vaccination hub is based in Studio 7 – home to the filming of dramas and gameshows including Supermarket Sweep and Family Fortunes in the campus’ former life as Carlton TV studios, and more recently the location for the Heart Church’s Sunday services.

The University of Nottingham's Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West said: "The delivery of these vaccines, starting with our healthcare heroes and the most vulnerable in our society, offer us all the hope that one day soon we will be able to come together again with family, friends and colleagues.

"Seeing the way in which our University community has risen to the challenge of Covid-19 from the start of the pandemic - whether it be through working to develop new vaccines, volunteering to support our local communities or leading numerous research studies to increase our understanding of the virus and its impact - has been a constant source of inspiration to me."

The efforts of our staff and students who have helped to support NHS colleagues in the roll-out of the vaccination programme have been truly outstanding.
Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham

Luke Halls, a first year Physiotherapy student at the University of Nottingham was one of the people vaccinating at KMC and spoke about how he felt to be involved in the programme.

He said: “It feels really humbling. For me as a first year Physio student, it just allows me to make a difference. You can play your part at the moment by following the rules but this is actually making a big difference and it’s how we are going to see our way out of this crisis.

“I got the opportunity from my clinical lecturers and just thought it would be a really good thing to take on.”

Physiotherapy student Luke Halls is among University students and staff administering vaccines at King's Meadow Campus

Proud to play a part

It follows hot on the heels of the launch of the first University-supported vaccination site at Cripps Health Centre on University Park Campus on Saturday 9 January, where the team has recruited 40 University staff and students to administer the jab. Incredibly, so keen were people to support the programme, they had more than 770 applications in just 72 hours.

Daniel Hammersley, Chief Operating Officer for Cripps Health Centre at the University of Nottingham, said: “We are delighted to be acting as a vaccination site to help support colleagues in hospitals across the country, in vaccinating the population against Covid-19. In the coming weeks we will be vaccinating both our own priority patients and colleagues from across health and social care in Nottingham. We are proud to be playing a part in the national effort in the mass vaccination programme, which is of huge importance in getting control of this terrible virus.”

Among the University of Nottingham students who successfully applied to work at the Cripps centre was 24-year-old Shahzeb Ali, a 4th year medical student, who said: “The opportunity to get involved in a national vaccination programme in the middle of a pandemic that will have a huge impact on getting the country immunised and back on its feet was a once in a lifetime opportunity and not one I could pass up. When I heard about it, I knew I had to join. We all have to do our part in these unprecedented times, this is my way of contributing.”

Around 14 members of staff from the University’s School of Health Sciences have put themselves forward to be seconded to a vaccination service at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust’s Nottingham City Hospital next week.

They are being supported by other staff members in the school who have offered to take on extra responsibilities to free up their colleagues to deliver vaccinations.

Staff doing their bit

Traci Hudson, Assistant Professor of Midwifery, is one of the staff members who wanted to help and has put herself forward for secondment.

She said: “This pandemic has impacted on us all in so many different ways and as a midwifery lecturer, I have been watching from the side lines feeling both frustrated and guilty that I cannot do my bit alongside my clinical counterparts. I am so proud of this university, as we know it has contributed a lot to the pandemic efforts and I am very much looking forward to being a further part of this.”

Staff from the University of Nottingham played a key role in leading the distribution of the approved Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to members of the public across the UK.

The regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reviewed the data collected by researchers, including those based at the University of Nottingham Health Service.

560 participants from across the East Midlands came to Cripps Health Centre at the University of Nottingham and played a crucial role in the study, which led to the vaccine being authorised for widespread use.

Vaccine recipients are being called forward in priority order as set out by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The NHS is sending letters to eligible people and vaccines will be by appointment only. First priority at the vaccination centres is for those over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers.

Health bosses have asked the public to wait until they have received a letter before contacting the NHS, their GP or local hospital hub – the letter will have full details of how to make an appointment. Do not call your GP or turn up at A&E or your doctor’s surgery – the only way to get an appointment and the jab is to follow the instructions in the letter. Once you have received a letter, please make your appointment as quickly as possible.

—Ends—

Emma Thorne - Head of News
Email: emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk
Phone: 0115 748 4734
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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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