Despite all the obstacles posed by the pandemic, the team responsible for giving school children in Wiltshire, BANES and Devon their flu vaccine have become record breakers.
The team topped last year’s total by nearly 20,000, vaccinating more than 127,000 children in just over 12 weeks. That is an increase of over 18%.
Our team, comprising senior nurses, staff nurses and support workers with help from bank staff and the Single Point of Access (SPA) battled the barriers caused by Covid to immunise thousands of children every day.
They visited schools to immunise young people using a nasal spray, although they did provide a few injections for those not able to have the nasal spray for clinical reasons.
They also ran additional clinics in community venues such as school halls or community centres for children who missed the vaccination but whose parents wanted their child to receive it.
The immunisation programme takes a year to prepare and this year has also seen the team having to take on year 7 pupils for the first time, adding to the planning and workload.
Tiff Ferris, our Professional Lead for School Age Immunisations said: Covid doubled the time it normally takes as all the teams had to wear PPE (apron, mask and visor) and change between children. They also had smaller groups at a time and had to accommodate working with the bubbles in line with school risk assessments. The team has also had to travel more as colleagues have been unable to car share and school and bubble closures resulted in a number of revisits having to be scheduled.
“There were also chilly conditions to contend with as it was important that the rooms where the children were vaccinated were well ventilated. The lowest temperature the team recorded was under 6 degrees.
“Despite all these difficulties the team forged ahead and delivered the service cheerfully and efficiently. In a normal year, the flu vaccination programme takes 12 months to plan and prepare. We have to contact the schools to arrange the visit, get consent from all the parents, order and store the vaccines and then spend 10 – 12 weeks immunising the children. This year, this whole process has been much more intense and has had far more obstacles, but the team has gone ahead and provided the service as always and we are extremely proud of this achievement.
”Their hard work was recognised by them winning a Virgin Care Feel the Difference Award for people or teams who have gone the extra mile, which they richly deserved.”
This year’s record breaking figures are (last year’s figures in brackets):
BANES 11,875 (9,984)
Devon 67,092 (56,493)
Swindon 15,256 (12,830)
Wilts 32,981 (28,196 )
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