Royal thanks at vaccination service
His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex paid a special visit to the Royal Windsor Racecourse local covid-19 vaccination site on Thursday 6 May.
The Earl of Wessex was greeted by Mr Graham Barker, Vice Lord Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire, and was introduced to the vaccination site management team and representative from the Royal Windsor Racecourse.
The Earl also took the opportunity to meet with those receiving their injection and heard about their experiences.
Sarah Bellars, said: “It was wonderful to show His Royal Highness around the vaccination centre and for him to meet the hard-working team.
“We have a number of vaccinators working on the site ranging from retired colleagues who have returned to help with the vaccination effort, local GP practice staff, paramedics and school nurses from the local college at Eton. The Covid-19 vaccination programme really builds on all the work we have done previously, with the annual flu vaccines for example, but this time, at an unprecedented scale, and we are forever grateful for the staff and volunteers that make it all possible.”
She added: “We are very proud of the work we are doing here, and it is lovely to see and hear how pleased our patients are to have their vaccine close to where they live.
His Royal Highness also met and spoke to some of the volunteers brought together by the local Social Prescribing team, who have been making a valuable contribution, helping to ensure the smooth running of the centre since it opened.
Dr Edward Harrison, said: “We are immensely grateful for the support of our staff and all the volunteers who have come forward to support our effort to protect as many people as possible from Covid-19 and it was an honour to see them to be recognised in this way.
“The volunteers have been fantastic in supporting the smooth running of our vaccination centre. With our strong links in the community, we have been able to work with volunteers from Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue to support the administrative entry of vaccinations given on the IT system at the site.
“Our volunteer marshals have worked outside through snow, rain and wind to ensure the flow of traffic and that patients can safely attend their vaccination.
“The Social Prescribing team, who recruited the volunteers, and all the volunteers themselves have been amazing and we are grateful to them for giving up their time to support the national vaccination effort.”
A volunteer at the site who spoke to The Earl of Wessex said: “His Royal Highness was grateful for the work we are doing in difficult times. He was interested to hear about the local team who have been supporting the community and was pleased that local residents have been part of this effort and the real sense of community spirit”.
The visit did not disrupt the vaccination of local residents who continued to have their injections while they spoke to staff, volunteers and patients.
The vaccination site at the Royal Windsor Racecourse first started vaccinating on 21 December 2020 and has delivered both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccinations. Those who were vaccinated at the start of the programme are now being invited to return for their second dose, which is really important to ensure people are getting maximum protection from COVID-19.
A patient said: “It was a wonderful surprise to be able to meet His Royal Highness today. I was at the vaccination site for my second vaccine and it was lovely to be reassured by His Royal Highness that all would be fine.
"I would like to thank the amazing staff and volunteers at the site who have done a fantastic job of setting up this site to ensure local residents receive their vaccine”.
David Thorpe, Chairman of Arena Racing Company, owners of Royal Windsor Racecourse said, “We are hugely proud that Royal Windsor Racecourse and all of the team here have been able to help the fantastic healthcare professionals and volunteers deliver such an impressive programme of vaccinations for the local community”.
The site was set up as a collaboration between the 6 GP Practices in Windsor (Windsor Primary Care Network), East Berkshire Primary Care, and Frimley Integrated Care System for the 70,000 patient population of Windsor.
Rachel Procter, Site Management Lead, said: “We were delighted to welcome The Earl of Wessex to our vaccination site. We are privileged to be able to deliver a vaccine programme at such a wonderful location.
“This is one of the amazing things about the Covid-19 vaccination drive; the dedication, hard work, determination and good will from all involved has been integral to the success to secure unique sites so we are as close to our community as possible, while being Covid secure at the same time”.