Published: 16:56, 13 January 2021
| Updated: 09:51, 14 January 2021
More healthcare workers have started to receive the Covid-19 jab as Sheppey's second vaccination centre has opened.
The Minster Ward at Sheppey Community Hospital in Plover Road, Minster, opened as a hospital hub vaccination site on Monday, January 11.
It is being run by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) and community-based NHS staff, care home workers and other priority staff groups are being invited to have their vaccination.
It comes as part of the government's plan to start rolling out the vaccine to high-risk groups.
Among the first frontline workers to receive the jab this week was Sheppey Community Hospital's reception supervisor Fiona Whiskin.
"She, like many of her colleagues, said it was really important to make sure she was protected to support patients and her family," a KCHFT spokesman said.
KCHFT is running several smaller hospital hub sites, like the one at Sheppey Community Hospital and at Aylesham Health Centre, which opened on December 28.
The ward at Sheppey, which is normally surplus to requirements, has had all its beds put into storage. The ward was revamped last year ready to take patients from Sittingbourne Memorial which was facing a temporary closure while its lift was renewed. That work was put on hold at the start of the pandemic.
At the moment, these appointment-only centres are offering vaccines to NHS community-based staff, including the trust's own colleagues and those from other NHS organisations such as Virgin Care, which runs the wards, Medway Community Health, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and Virgin Healthcare, as well as care home workers.
Rachel Nicholls, KCHFT's operational lead,
said: "We have all been supporting each other to make sure we get this right; making sure the right systems and processes are in place.
"I am really happy to be involved, I really want to play my part in getting us to as near normal as possible.''
A KCHFT spokesman added: "In Kent and Medway, as is the case nationally, the vaccine is being delivered in three ways: hospital hubs - large local NHS hospitals vaccinating staff and patients on-site and smaller community-based venues offering staff vaccination; local GP-led services - vaccinating their patient groups in priority order; and vaccination centres - larger public sites, set up for high volumes of people.
"KCHFT is leading on and co-ordinating the large vaccination centres, working with all of our partners in health and social care. Dates and venues for these sites are still to be confirmed."
Sheppey's first vaccination centre at Sheerness Health Centre opened on December 15. Many of the Island's over-80s who were first to be vaccinated have now received their second and final jab.