Last week (2 December), we celebrated the Boost Day campaign marking one year since the UK became the first country in the world to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Today, we turn our attention to another milestone here at the Royal Free London. One year ago (8 December 2020), the first COVID-19 jab was given at the RFL and the biggest vaccination campaign in NHS history began.
Thanks to the hard work of staff, volunteers and community groups, more than 13.5 million vaccine doses have been delivered in London so far. At the RFL, a team of 300+ vaccinators have given over 50,000 vaccines to staff and patients.
Josephine Faleye, an 81-year-old grandmother, was the first person at the Royal Free Hospital to receive the COVID-19 jab.
At the time of getting her vaccine, Josephine said: “I am excited to be the first person at this hospital to be vaccinated against COVID-19. I’m happy to have it and I hope that if people see me having it at the age of 80, it will encourage them to have it too.”
We’ve since caught up with Josephine, who is keeping well and had her booster COVID-19 jab last month. She told us: “I was pleased. I prayed about it and God told me to get the vaccine, so I did.”
Let’s take a look back at what we’ve achieved since then.
We launched RFL vaccination hubs
Keeping ourselves, our colleagues and our patients safe from the spread of infection has become one of our most important priorities. A team of dedicated staff across the trust worked hard to set up our first vaccine clinic at the Royal Free Hospital on 8 December 2020, followed by clinics at Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital on 4 January 2021.
Thank you to all our vaccine champions who have worked hard to provide staff with all the information they need about the COVID-19 vaccine since it was first introduced.
We opened a vaccination centre at Saracens' StoneX Stadium
In April 2021, a team of volunteers and trust staff set up a vaccination centre at the StoneX Stadium and built on the success of RFL hospital vaccination hubs.
At the time of opening, Caroline Clarke, Royal Free London group chief executive, said: “The success of our hospital hubs and the delivery of tens of thousands of vaccinations is testament to the hard work and dedication of all our staff involved in the vaccination programme.”
Saracens chief executive officer, Lucy Wray, added: “We are really pleased and excited that StoneX has now become a significant COVID-19 vaccination site for the residents of Barnet and north London.”
In total, almost 90,000 vaccinations were delivered to members of the public, helping protect the local community from COVID-19.
We are continuing to provide COVID-19 vaccines and flu jabs – have you had yours?
The vaccination programme at the RFL is led by group chief nurse, Julie Hamilton, and this year we’ve been encouraging you to boost your immunity with both the COVID-19 vaccine and flu jab. Both jabs can be administered safely at the same time, and you can find out more in our FAQs page.
Vaccines are the best way to ensure we can all enjoy the festivities safely with our loved ones. Getting your vaccinations will protect against dangerous viruses like flu and COVID-19.