Applause rings out to celebrate 20,000 COVID jabs at Biggleswade's Weatherley Centre

The vaccination hub celebrated the milestone on Monday, April 19

By Reporter
Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 2:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 2:46 pm

Vaccinators have delivered their 20,000th COVID jab at Biggleswade’s Weatherley Centre.

The vaccination hub, operated by Jardines, reached the milestone on Monday afternoon.

It achieved the figure - roughly equivalent to the population of Biggleswade - just three months after the centre gave its first injection in the fight against the virus.

Pharmacist Asia Patel celebrates the new milestone at the Weatherley Centre

Helen Ashton, centre manager, said: “They made an announcement when they reached the 20,000 person on Monday and there was a round of applause from everyone, and some non-alcoholic Prosecco to mark the occasion.

“It’s amazing how quickly the centre has reached this number since opening in January. Everybody has worked really hard and the operation really runs like clockwork.”

Pharmacist Asia Patel said: “It’s so rewarding to be able to put a numerical value on the hard work and non-stop determination this wonderful team has had since January and I think this is going to motivate them further to reach the next milestone.

“This pandemic cannot be beaten without teamwork, and whether you are part of a team running an incredibly successful vaccination programme, or part of the team getting themselves vaccinated to protect others, we’re all equally accountable to play our part.

“I encourage everybody to book their vaccination when they can, even if not with us, because we’re all so desperate to be able to go out and celebrate our success and can’t do that with lockdown measures!"

Jeanie Mining, operations manager at Jardines Pharmacy, said: "It is our best clinic, and it was the first one we opened. What has made it the best, is the response from our volunteers.

“The centre itself has also been great, we also have great support from the marshals, has been amazing, and our pharmacist Asia has been doing a great job. They all work really well together, and it all runs smoothly.

"The facility is great as well because we have been able to implement a one way system for people to use.

"People have been able to bring their carers with them, which has been a great support.

"The team works really hard, and make people feel reassured by answering any questions and offering support where needed.

"I am very proud of them, they are doing an excellent job.

“There has been a bit of a supply issue, we have had people calling to book appointments but at times, we have just not been able to get the supply, and the rate of people getting their first jab has slowed because we have been giving the second vaccine to those who had to have it within the 12 week period.”

"There was also a lot of reassurance that we were having to give people who had concerns about the vaccine following stories in the news, that seems to have quietened down now.

"People tend to have more concerns before the first jab, that's when any health reactions to the vaccine will come out because when they have the second jab, their body has already had it, and it's no longer new."

The Eagle Farm Road centre is now offering vaccinations to the over 45s age group around the Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton area, alongside second jabs, and there are plenty of appointments available, with booking in advance via the NHS website - please do not call the centre to book.

The centre is located on the same site as Stratton School with entry via Eagle Farm Road and exiting through Orchard Close.

The Weatherley Centre has already partially reopened to children’s activities, and from May 17 fitness groups will be able to resume their classes too. The vaccinations are taking place in a ring-fenced part of the building, leaving other rooms available for general hire.

Helen said: “We have been inundated with people wanting to book up our rooms and we’re doing our best to accommodate everyone. Please do get in touch with us if you are interested in hiring.”

Contact the centre via email at [email protected] or by phone on 01767 315709.