The Salford lecturer who helped launch Manchester’s first mass Covid-19 vaccination centre
Today (Monday 11 January) sees the opening of one of the first Covid-19 mass vaccination centres in the country as staff begin vaccinating the public and healthcare staff of Greater Manchester.
Miriam Collett (pictured), Nursing Lecturer at the University of Salford, is one of the team who helped get the vaccination centre, located at the Tennis and Football Centre – Etihad Campus in Manchester, set up and ready for its first patients.
Miriam tells us: “Before joining the university in October 2020, I was working for the Northern Care Alliance (NCA) in Salford, leading the delivery of school-aged immunisations across Salford during the Covid-19 pandemic. So, when the team to launch the Mass Vaccination Centre (MVC) was being assembled, my previous work in the summer and skill set were identified as meaning I would be an important addition.”
The University of Salford works in close partnership with the NCA, as well as other NHS organisations, and so was able to make sure Miriam was released from her usual role for three weeks to support the Covid-19 response and help set up the MVC.
The scale of the challenge was huge. Miriam explains: “The first day I arrived I was met with a vast, empty sports hall, where the armed forces were unpacking a lorry load of equipment. Another nurse and I became the clinical leads for the site, with our main task being to take the national model provided and make it work for us at our MVC. The days were fast paced, with things changing almost hourly.
“Over the weeks our experience enabled us to work through logistical, clinical and technological challenges. We were part of a great team from many different disciplines and backgrounds; with us all working together the MVC started to take shape. Walls were built, signs were made, patient journeys were mapped out, emergency procedures written and training plans shaped.”
The facility will be used in the first instance to vaccinate those who are 80 years old or over, if they haven’t already been vaccinated by their local GP or hospital vaccine hub. Health and care workers within Greater Manchester will also be invited to be vaccinated.
The centre will be run by the NHS in Greater Manchester as part of the region’s Covid-19 vaccination programme. It will be run on a strict appointment only basis, with the NHS contacting those who are eligible to book their appointments directly over the coming days.
For Miriam, seeing the centre up and running is a sign of hope, and something she will always be proud to have been part of – although she is glad to now be back to some normality in her day job.
“I’m so excited to see all of the hard work come together as the centre launches today. I’ll be visiting next week to see it in action and to celebrate with the rest of the team. It was great to be able to use my clinical skills to support the vaccination programme, but I missed my role at the university and am glad to be back – hopefully the vaccination programme means we can all start to see our lives returning to some kind of normality soon.”
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