RE:ACT supports Mass Vaccination Centre in Bristol

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Posted by Alex Whitty 18th January 2021 Press Releases

Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins

CHILMARK, WILTSHIRE (18 JANUARY 2021) – RE:ACT has been supporting the launch of the largest vaccination programme in history, deploying a team of volunteers to assist operations at the Bristol Covid-19 Mass Vaccination Centre based at Ashton Gate Stadium.

The Bristol vaccination centre was the first to open of the seven Covid mass vaccination sites – along with sites in London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Surrey and Stevenage – that were announced by the Government to help scale up the UK’s vaccination rollout to two million per week and help relieve pressure on an overwhelmed NHS.

The site in Bristol was set up by the Army, who recommended RE:ACT to the NHS South West Covid-19 Workforce Cell, which has responsibility for managing and coordinating the vaccination programme. The programme includes the involvement of volunteer organisations such as RE:ACT and St John Ambulance that are helping to staff the centre. Thousands of staff are needed to help run the site, which is expected to be in operation for several months. 

RE:ACT was approached to provide urgent capacity to support Ashton Gate security staff with marshalling and stewarding duties. After initially being requested to provide 20 volunteers, RE:ACT fulfilled the numbers a few hours after sending the request for support to its volunteer base.

In total, RE:ACT has over 50 volunteers working at the Bristol vaccination centre, with teams of 11 on shift at a time each day, the first shift running from 0730 to 1400, with the second shift from 1330 to 2000. The main duties of the volunteers are to act as the first point of contact, engaging with members of the public as they arrive for their appointment, providing clear instructions and ensuring the process is managed efficiently from arrival, through to clinical administration and immediate aftercare.

In the first week of operation, the Ashton Gate vaccination centre saw several hundred people a day attend appointments, starting with healthcare workers and the over-80s, with a gradual increase in numbers each day that is expected to ramp up significantly over the coming weeks.

RE:ACT will be providing support for the first two weeks of opening to get the site up and running, although this may be extended. In addition to the Bristol site, RE:ACT will also be providing support to several more vaccination sites as the national rollout continues to scale up.

Hannah Bailey, NHS Operations Manager, Ashton Gate Vaccination Centre, said:

“I am really pleased at how the first week at Bristol Vaccination Centre has gone. We have had lots and lots of positive feedback about how people have experienced their visit with us. People have described the great teamwork they have witnessed and working with the team from REACT this week has been a real pleasure. They have been kind, caring and a smiley welcoming face to the site for our visitors. The team have also been particularly supportive to elderly and frail patients that have visited the site, supporting them to navigate the large concourse. We really couldn’t have managed this first week without them.”

Nick Grant-Thorold, RE:ACT Team Leader, said:

“We have a great team of volunteers at the Ashton Gate site, responsible for ensuring a smooth and efficient process. Most of us our veterans so it’s easy to slip back into the role and you only need to give instructions once, which makes it easy to manage. We’re all enjoying it and engaging with the public, it’s been a very rewarding experience for the whole team.”

Ben Lampard, Director of Humanitarian Operations, RE:ACT, said:

“We’re hugely proud to be supporting this immensely impressive set up. This is a great example of the collaboration and partnerships that have been happening throughout Covid. The speed at which the Bristol vaccination centre was opened is a tribute to all those involved and we’re delighted to be involved in such a momentous operation. We know there’s a lot more work to be done but we’re extremely encouraged by how well it’s working.”


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