Privileged and Thankful - addendum

A used medical mask and a sticker with a smiley face saying Hello, my name is Phil

OK, my time really is done. Today I recorded a further 46 35 vaccinations in my 69 70th and almost certainly final session as an admin with the Suffolk GP Federation. After the closure of the centres at Trinity Park Ipswich, Stowmarket, Debenham and Haverhill, Woodbridge has carried on and will do so for another week or so.

But it's different now. Already the UK's COVID-19 vaccination programme is routine. And that is astonishing.

Yesterday, I listened to the BBC's 5 part reading of Professor Sarah Gilbert and Dr Catherine Green's book Vaxxers. It tells the story of how those two world-class scientists and teams of men and women across Europe developed and proved the safety and efficacy of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine — in less than a year. In my previous post on this topic, I attempted to convey in a short piece the overwhelming sense of privilege all of us have felt to be involved in the delivery of that vaccine and others into the arms of so many people. And what it meant to so many of those recipients.

With the initial thrust over — everyone over the age of 16 in the UK has now been offered at least a first dose of a vaccine — the ongoing programme will be handled increasingly by regular doctors' surgeries and pharmacies rather than temporary 'mass vax centres.' As far as I can tell, everyone involved so far has offered to help there if needed in future but that initial coming together with people who have never met and, let's be honest, probably never will meet again, to work towards a common goal has reached its conclusion.

So now it's the barbecues, the speeches and the pleas of 'don't lose touch'. There will be no sign that any of this happened at any of the vax centres soon.

Except, perhaps, one.

The four people who worked as floor managers at Trinity Park arranged for the creation and installation of a commemorative plaque. It's right outside the main entrance and I don't think I'm alone in saying that yes, the free bar and the barbecue were great, thanks, but that plaque means a heck of a lot. Thank you Graeme, Lucy, Jonathan and Martin.

Finally, OK, here's the pic for the grandchildren …

The plaque outside the entrance to Trinity Park events centre reads: COVID-PANDEMIC Trinity Park Vaccination Centre. This plaque is here to commemorate and remember all the staff who played their part in fighting Covid-19. The NHS logo and a rainbow are included.
Debbie and me photographed standing next to the plaque, 26 July 2021. A moment of profound pride for us both.