Hard-working staff at Cherwell district vaccination centre shortlisted for national award after setting up at empty airfield hangar
Hard-working staff and volunteers at a vaccination centre in the Cherwell district have been shortlisted for a national award thanks to the unusual way in which they successfully delivered COVID-19 jabs during the pandemic.
GP practices set up the Bicester Vaccination Centre at Bicester Heritage on the former RAF Bicester airfield.
And thanks to their enterprising work, they are on the shortlist for Vaccination Service of the Year and will learn if they have secured award on Friday December 9 at the General Practice Awards ceremony being held in London.
Bicester Vaccination Service was originally in competition with over 80 other entrants from across the country before progressing onto the shortlist of just 9 that are now in line to win.
Those who set up the Bicester system for jabs came from all three of the Bicester GP practices – Alchester Medical Group, Bicester Health Centre and Montgomery-House Surgery. In late 2020 they successfully negotiated to use an empty hangar on the airfield and then kitted it out for use as a key vaccinations facility with the help of local businesses. The building quickly became the centre for
delivering a huge vaccination programme for patients living in Bicester and the surrounding district.
Over 72,000 COVID-19 jabs were given, including 10,000 right before Christmas 2021 during the Omicron Emergency. Hundreds of local people acted as volunteers to ensure everything at the Bicester Vaccination Centre ran smoothly from its opening in January 2021 until February 2022.
Dr Toby Quartley, one of the Bicester GP leaders at the Vaccination Centre, said: “The whole team were amazing and to be close to winning this national award is fantastic recognition for everyone who’s played a part in the extraordinary effort to protect Bicester’s population.
"Bicester Vaccination Centre at the airfield will always remain in the memories of those who worked there and visited.
"This will go down in the history books as an example of how our local healthcare professionals and the whole community rallied to the challenge and succeeded when it was most needed.”