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1800 500 vaccines ;

King's community helps to drive COVID-19 vaccination service

Members of the King’s community continue to play a crucial role in the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in North London. As our health service enters the final push to protect the country against the virus, we asked our staff and students about their experiences on the vaccination team.

Dr Russell Hearn, Senior Lecturer in Medical Education and Deputy Director of Community Education from the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, has been driving the vaccination service forward, leading on the organisation of outreach clinics at mosques, community centres, food banks and homeless hostels, as well as pop-up vaccination clinics at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium, which most recently vaccinated over 4000 people in one day. This took Haringey to the top of the league table for the first time.

Russell Hearn Tottenham Hotspur

Pictured: Dr Hearn takes a short break to inspect the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur with Dental Student, Mustafa Khan, and Medical Student, Amna Khan.

Outside of King’s, Dr Hearn works clinically as a doctor at Morris House Group Practice in Haringey, North London. His vaccination team of over 150 volunteers include NHS staff from his GP practice and over 70 of our medical, dental, nursing, and pharmacy students from King’s.

Our students continue to be incredible and each one has been an absolute credit to King’s. They are learning a lot about patient interactions through our work, and we are doing regular teaching around conditions patients have as case-based discussions. They are also working to help reduce health inequalities on a daily basis.– Dr Russell Hearn, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine

He continued: “We recently passed 100,000 vaccines and our students have done great work in promoting vaccination uptake. We recently taught HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to reconstitute the Pfizer vaccine on her visit to Morris House Group Practice, where she helped to mark our achievement of reaching 50,000 vaccines delivered to residents of Haringey.”

Russell Hearn Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall

Pictured: Dr Hearn and Amna Khan teaching HRH The Duchess of Cornwall how to reconstitute vaccines.

King’s medical students Yanja Chuluunbaatar, James Gibbons, Lily McLean and Aaron Rahman are just a few of the students who have volunteered to help vaccinate residents of North London. They share why they signed up for the challenge, what a typical day consists of, and most of all, what they have learned from the experience.

Yanja works primarily as a vaccinator at the Morris House Group Practice site but has also been involved in pop-up clinics such as the one at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium. James and Lily have been working at the practice alongside Yanja since it first opened in December but have also experienced delivering vaccines to homebound patients, meaning those not able to leave their homes are still able to get protection.

A typical day at Morris House Group Practice involves a morning briefing at 8:00 with the clinical team. This is with medical students, other healthcare students and professionals, volunteers, as well as Morris House permanent staff – paramedics, pharmacists, nurses and doctors. We then begin vaccinating, with our morning clinic from 9:00 to 12:30, and our afternoon clinic from 13:30 to approximately 17:00.– Lily McLean, Final Year Medical Student

Yanja continued: “The morning vaccination clinic can range from 300 patients during the weekday to 600 on the weekends. We even met Saqid Khan, Mayor of London, who watched the process of vaccinating a patient in January.”

Medical students with Sadiq Khan

Pictured: King's students James Gibbons, Lily Walter and Yanja Chuluunbaatar meet The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to promote vaccination uptake.

Thanks to our students and the many existing NHS staff who have trained to deliver vaccines or perform other important roles, the NHS has had enough people to deliver vaccines as quickly as supplies allow. As the invite for vaccinations has now been opened to everyone over 18 in England, our students look back and reflect on the skills they have gained:

It has been a real privilege to play such an important role throughout this pandemic. There have been highs and lows, but the resilience exhibited by all involved has been phenomenal. It has taught me determination and strength, which will be much required going forward in my career.– Yanja Chuluunbaatar, Final Year Medical Student

Lily continued: “My confidence and ability to clearly communicate with, explain to, reassure and appropriately address patients’ queries and concerns has grown so much. Additionally, I have learnt and experienced first-hand the impact of misinformation on vaccine hesitancy, which has given me an appreciation for how powerful an influencing force social media is in health care and for public health.”

James, who organised a simulation to help train staff on vaccine hesitancy, open to all vaccine centres across North London, echoed Lily’s sentiments: “My confidence in dealing with patients and working within a professional team has been greatly improved, which is something that I will take into my position as a junior doctor this summer.”

Finally, Aaron Rahman, who has been working tirelessly to vaccinate patients at Bounds Green Group Practice, gives insight into how COVID-19 vaccines are administered:

Consultations are structured, sequential appointments, lasting no longer than five minutes. Once a patient arrives in the vaccination room, I introduce myself, make them feel comfortable and take their health questionnaire and consent form. I explain the procedure and what to expect afterwards (potential side effects and waiting times), then administer the jab. My Data Input Assistant finalises the computer admin, provides a blue COVID-19 vaccination card and the process then repeats for the next patient.– Aaron Rahman, Year 2 Medical Student
Aaron Rahman

Pictured: Aaron Rahman in a vaccination room at Bounds Green Group Practice.

Although early in his medical career, Aaron has also gained invaluable clinical skills that he will take forward throughout his time at King’s and beyond: “The diversity in Haringey, and hence the variety of patients who walk through the door at Bounds Green Group Practice, has allowed me to interact with those from different backgrounds, which is a necessity to flourish as a physician.”

Dr Hearn has also co-delivered teaching with medical students for primary care admin and reception staff across Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey & Islington. Using an innovative online simulation programme, King’s students used their experience vaccinating to teach non-clinical staff how to discuss common concerns with patients who have vaccine hesitancy. This has had a real impact on vaccine uptake and enabled our students to disseminate their knowledge and improve their teaching skills.

In this story

Russell  Hearn

Russell Hearn

Reader in Medical Education & Deputy Director of Community Education

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