County Hall staff redeployed to assist the Covid vaccination effort in Somerset
Written by Bridgwater Mercury on January 21, 2021
HUNDREDS of Somerset County Council staff are working alongside the NHS and in communities to support the fight against Covid-19.
Council officers are being redeployed from their normal day jobs to project manage the setting up of the county’s GP vaccination hubs.
They are also contacting eligible residents to invite them to vaccination appointments, supporting the Test and Trace effort if a person tests positive, running the care home vaccination programme and delivering food parcels and PPE.
Among the redeployed staff is Gary Frecknall, usually a highways and transportation manager at County Hall, but more recently overseeing the setting up GP vaccination hubs in Somerset.
Liaising with the NHS clinical director, Gary ensured equipment such as freezers to store the Pfizer vaccine and suitable PPE were on site, sourced digital/ICT equipment and patient information literature, and co-ordinated staffing ensuring clinical, administration, reception and marshals are available.
Gary said: “Getting everything ready at the vaccination centres is an enormous task. It’s a very challenging environment, but also very rewarding.
“We’re liaising closely with our NHS colleagues and I am constantly amazed at their professionalism and ability to welcome everyone with smile.
“I’m also very proud of Somerset County Council’s workforce who have mobilised to help with this huge logistical operation and who have received a warm welcome from our NHS colleagues. Together as a team we are making a real difference.
“The work can be emotional for both staff and patients alike as, once vaccinated, a new life begins and that’s why we’re all here – to help bring that about.
“We are working through priority groups, and everyone will receive a vaccination appointment in due course. In the meantime please follow Government guidance to protect both yourselves and others.”
With Taunton Racecourse now up and running as a mass vaccination centre and another mass vaccination centre due to go live at the Bath and West Showground next week, Somerset’s vaccination programme is gathering pace.
Cllr David Fothergill, leader of Somerset County Council, said: “I’m really proud of all our Somerset County Council staff who stepped forward to help in the fight back against coronavirus and are now supporting the NHS and local communities to help save lives.
“Vaccination numbers in Somerset will continue to increase over the coming weeks and our vaccination centres will be running seven days a week.
“More and more people will be invited for their vaccination. Please don’t contact the health service, they will be in touch when it is your turn to be vaccinated. And, remember, even when you are vaccinated, it’s vitally important to continue ‘hands, face, space’ to continue to stop the spread of infection.”
The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline on 0300 790 6275 is open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm, offering a range of support – from help accessing food or medicines, to emotional and financial support, and employment, skills and business advice.
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