The independent London newspaper

Our local hub shows how vaccination should be done

14 January, 2021

Illustration by John Sadler

• WEDNESDAY – January 6 – I got a text inviting me to choose a slot for my first Covid-19 jab, starting from the next afternoon, at the Peckwater Centre, Kentish Town, the vaccination hub for a sizeable area.

There was a queue outside but also a young woman moving along it, handing out stapled sheets with information about the vaccine to each of us as we arrived.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “We’re moving people through quite quickly.” She was right.

Somebody – two doctors at the Caversham, I was told – had worked out the logistics, the layout, how many people (staff and volunteers) would be needed, where everyone was to go, how to keep them safely apart, how to disinfect each chair the instant it was vacated… how to ensure each new arrival understood what the next stage would be, how to make sure no moment was spent simply waiting.

Either you were giving your details, or confirming them, or sitting briefly outside the room where you were to be vaccinated, removing layers of clothes to prepare the sacrificial arm.

Afterwards, you were given a card with the date you had this first jab, and a slip of paper with a time – 15 minutes hence – before which you should not leave.

Two waiting rooms, with clean and comfortable chairs well spaced apart, were set aside for us to sit clutching our slips of paper, waiting to be sure no one felt unwell.

Large numbers of people constantly, quietly, on the move; staff and volunteers friendly, unhurried yet sending us swiftly along. How did they do this? I have no idea, but I salute them.

“When do you think I might get the booster?” I asked the young doctor with his syringe. “Anything between three and 12 weeks,” he said. “But it will depend on when we get deliveries of the vaccine.”

Indeed. Everything within the control of the organisers was impeccable. The rest is down to others.

Gaisford Street, NW5


Share this story

Post a comment