Over the last few months, Nurse Consultant Fiona White has been helping to spearhead the vaccination drive across Merton. Working from a range of pop up vaccination centres, including mosques, churches, sports halls, council buildings and temples she has overseen thousands of vaccinations. As we approach our second weekend of intensive vaccinations at pop up sites across South West London, she gave us a few minutes of her time to tell us about herself and her work for a quick question and answer session.
Fiona, what is the key message you want to send to people in Merton?
Get fully jabbed as soon as possible! Covid-19 cases are on the rise and being fully vaccinated (2 jabs) is the only way to ensure you are getting maximum protection for yourself and the people you love.
And how can people do that?
We are running pop-up vaccination sessions across Merton where you can turn up and get your first or second jab. We are currently offering AZ and Pfizer. You can find full details of all our walk in sessions here and across South West London. You can also book an appointment over the NHS website here if you don’t want to queue.
How long do you have to wait before you can get your second vaccination?
You can’t get your second vaccination until eight weeks after your first vaccination.
Over 18s can now get walk-in vaccinations but what if you’ve not had a vaccination before and are worried about needles?
That’s a very good question – and the truth is that a lot of people are worried about needles. We’ve got a great team here to reassure here you and put you at ease. Take a moment to listen to Nick (link) who’ll tell you about his own experience – and why it is so important to get jabbed.
Why are pop-up centres so important in the vaccination drive?
Pop up clinics give greater local access to patients getting the vaccine. It means less travel and because they are closer to some hard to reach areas they are good for people who trust local venues that they feel comfortable in visiting.
How many pop-ups have been set up since vaccinations began – and how many vaccinations have been delivered?
We have delivered over 30 pop ups and we’ve delivered thousands of vaccinations.
What was the most unusual place you have held a pop-up?
We did a great clinic at the Go-Ahead London bus garage in Merton. Go-Ahead was very keen to promote vaccinations to their bus drivers and staff. We did a great clinic in one bus and set up an observation area after the vaccine on another bus with a total of 74 vaccinations. We also accommodated a few public members who were walking past. What a fun event which protected staff and the public!
And what was the most successful day for vaccinations you’ve had?
The Merton mosque was our most successful pop up with over 1,225 vaccinations. It really was a day to remember.
What do you find most enjoyable about delivering pop-ups?
I love the daily new challenges and seeing happy people when they’ve got vaccinated and protected.
How do you think the team works together?
The vaccinators and volunteers work hard and have fun together. We look after each other and problem solve together. We couldn’t deliver a safe service unless we worked as a team. Recently the lateral flow team has joined us so we are becoming a happy unit together that goes to pop ups and work in tandem.
How do you unwind after a long day of vaccinations?
I have lots of pets to go home and feed: giant rabbits, chickens, ducks , tortoise, cats, terrapins and Florrie the dog! My five lovely grandchildren who post me photos of their day and I know that all the effort we are putting in is worthwhile because I want them to be safe and have a happy future post-Covid-19.
Do you have any questions about Covid-19 and vaccination? Check out our commonly asked questions here.