Over the last few weeks, I have been volunteering at my local Covid Vaccine Hub, which covers 180,000 patients in Barnet. The Hub has been built from scratch using a series of marquees and looks like an army field hospital. At the moment the Hub provides two different types of vaccine, these are the Pfizer and Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccines. Each day the Hub is set-up to give one type of vaccine as they have to be treated differently. Each shift at the Hub lasts around seven hours and all staff have to arrive early to take a lateral flow rapid Covid test to check they are safe to work.
I first volunteered as a marshal. This entailed directing patients around the site, ensuring social distancing, and guiding the flow of patients through different stages of the vaccination process. One of the challenges I faced whilst marshalling was that after the Pfizer vaccine is administered, patients have to sit on-site under observation for 15 minutes. The creates the complexities of ensuring there are enough seats for patients to wait whilst remaining socially distanced and of managing each patient's departure after the correct period of observation has passed.
I was then selected to be trained up for the position of Non-clinical Patient Pre-Screener. This means asking each patient a series of question to check who they are and that they're eligible and safe to have the vaccine. The role also entails recording the patient's details including their date of birth, surname and NHS number as well as information such as any medication they may take, which vaccine is being given and where in the body it is being injected. As well as asking all the questions, I was responsible for the data entry on a national NHS system called Pinnacle that every vaccine Hub in the country is using. This allows the doctor who is vaccinating to focus on the vaccinations and providing clinical oversight without having to worry about logging the patient's details, asking them questions or recording all of their answers.
I have also volunteered at the Hub when the AstraZeneca vaccine was being given. This vaccine speeds the vaccination process up significantly as there is no need to supervise patients for 15 minutes after they receive their vaccines although patients cannot drive for 15 minutes afterwards. This leads to the Hub being able to vaccinate around 750 patients in a single day, which is an astonishing number.
I am really enjoying this work and am planning to continue volunteering for at least one shift a week at the Hub. The UK is one of the leading countries in the world with its Covid vaccine programme and it feels great to be a part of this.
Written by Noah Arram (11S2)