University Hospital Southampton joins national COVID-19 vaccination programme

COVID-19 vaccineUniversity Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has become the latest hospital hub to begin administering COVID-19 vaccinations in our community. 

The dedicated vaccination hub at UHS was opened today (Tuesday, 29 December) after the vaccine was delivered to the Trust, enabling it to join one of the biggest immunisation programmes in the nation’s history. 

UHS interim chief executive David French said: “We are all too aware of the challenge that lies ahead of the NHS in the weeks and months ahead, and so having the opportunity to join the national vaccination programme is hugely welcomed. 

“We are proud to be able to administer the vaccine to the most vulnerable in our community and our staff who are at higher risk of COVID who have given their all over the past year at the very frontline of our response to this pandemic. 

“I would like to thank all those who have stepped up once again to enable us to offer this vaccine at a time when hospitals are under the most amount of strain.”   

Dr Sanjay GuptaAmong the first to receive the vaccination was Dr Sanjay Gupta, clinical lead for intensive care at UHS. He said: “It is a feeling of relief that we are now able to deliver the vaccine at UHS.   

“Certainly for staff on the frontline, it means they will feel better protected. We are hugely confident in the vaccine and now we are able to play our part in the vaccination programme.”  

Chief pharmacist James Allen, who has led the project team and oversaw the first vaccinations being delivered at UHS, said: “This has been a huge undertaking for the Trust to be able to start our vaccination programme today and a testament to the hard work of the entire project team and those who have answered the call to help deliver the vaccinations.” 

UHS is among the latest tranche of hospital hubs to begin vaccinating this week, and joins a number of GP networks and other hospitals in the region that have already contributed to the vaccination across the country.  

Irwin Raflores, staff nurse

People aged 80 and over as well as care home workers, along with healthcare workers who are at higher risk, can be vaccinated at the UHS hub. 

All those vaccinated will need a second vaccination.

UHS is one of the latest hospital hubs to go live, joining the network of GP practices and other community locations that are already in operation around the region.  

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder but there is a complex logistical challenge to deliver from the manufacturers to patients. 

It needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain ahead of use. 

Posted on Tuesday 29 December 2020