Staff from Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals have teamed up with NHS colleagues from Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust to open the Heathrow Mass Vaccination Centre.
Open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm, the Centre has the capacity to vaccinate 5,000 people every day – around 35,000 people a week.
Samantha Cliffe, lead nurse for cardiac nuclear medicine, is one of eleven members of staff from Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals who have been deployed to the Centre. Samantha said: “It’s one of the most exciting projects I’ve been involved in and I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum now. This end – the vaccine – is the polar opposite to the one in critical care. It offers our patients and their families hope and a brighter future ahead.
“There’s a great camaraderie among staff. Even though we have come from different organisations – Central and North West London, Chelsea and Westminster, and Royal Brompton and Harefield – we have gelled so well together. It’s such a brilliant team. Also, a big thanks to my colleagues in the clinical and operational teams at Heathrow. It really has been an honour to work with everyone.
“There have been emotional moments because the vaccine means so much to people – it means they can start to really think about hugging loved ones they have dearly missed and yet it’s a sad reminder of what they have missed out on or lost. The feeling of hope at Heathrow is tangible and exciting. The atmosphere is vibrant and everyone is really happy. We have even received some wonderful artwork from local schools, which brings a big smile to staff and members of the public.”
Local Heathrow residents have expressed their gratitude for the Centre. One resident said: “The whole experience has been painless. All staff have been very organised and caring. Eliminated my fears and helped me to relax. Thank you.” Another commented: “Found my whole experience to be welcoming and professional. Was treated well as soon as I entered”