Retired nurse delivers 10,000 Covid-19 vaccines to residents

Health / Fri 3rd Nov 2023 at 10:19am

A NURSE who returned from retirement to protect the public during the COVID-19 pandemic has just delivered her 10,000th vaccination.

Kate is part of a team of vaccinators working for Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT). Collectively, vaccinators at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust have delivered some 1.6 million COVID-19 vaccinations since January 2021.

Kate spent most of her career as a nurse, also working as a couples counsellor and life skills trainer, before retiring in the summer of 2019.

When the COVID-19 vaccination programme began, Kate first volunteered as a marshal at Chelmsford City Racecourse. She then decided to return to work, completing her training and starting work as a vaccinator in March 2021.

It was Chris, a fellow vaccinator, who suggested Kate start counting the number of people she had vaccinated. Two and a half years later, on 19 October 2023, Kate delivered her 10,000th vaccination to none other than Chris.

Kate said: “I feel very proud of myself for reaching 10,000 vaccinations and it was fantastic that I was able to offer the special 10,000th vaccination to Chris.

“Throughout the pandemic I delivered vaccines on a bus, at a library, park and ride, racecourse, care homes – even going into people’s homes if they were housebound.

“I love it when patients share their stories with me. Particularly in the early days, older people would come to us excited to get their next vaccine. They had lots of stories to tell, often comparing the pandemic to the war. Sadly, some of them told me about loved ones who had died as a result of COVID-19.

“I also love the team spirit across the vaccination programme, including volunteers. I’ve met and worked with people from all walks of life. I’ve enjoyed working with younger people and pleased with how my IT skills have improved.”

Kate has made many good friends among the vaccination team, and even travelled to India with colleague Linda to volunteer. Kate and Linda ran an English language programme in Kerala to empower women and young professionals. They even went out with a local nurse on a community visit which Kate described as “a very eye-opening experience.”

Now back in the UK, Kate is supporting this year’s seasonal vaccination programme. She said: “I would like to encourage everyone who is eligible to get their flu and COVID-19 vaccines this autumn. Particularly my colleagues working in healthcare or in care homes – please do all you can to keep yourselves and your patients safe this winter. If I had loved ones in care, I would want to know staff had been vaccinated.”

Eligible people can book their COVID-19 and flu vaccines via the NHS website:

· COVID-19 vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
· Flu vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

EPUT is also offering walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics at The Lodge, Lodge Approach, Runwell, SS11 7XX. Check the EPUT website for details.

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