Drive-thru mass Covid-19 vaccination pilot in Woolpit sees thousands receive injections in one day
A trial drive-thru mass Covid-19 vaccination pilot in Woolpit saw nearly 2,300 people receive their immunisation in one day.
The total was nearly five times the number who could be vaccinated in normal clinics at Woolpit Health Centre, the GP behind the scheme said this week.
Dr Richard West, senior partner, said he would like to run more drive-thru clinics.
“The thing that’s stopping me is getting enough doses,” said Dr West.
“The practice ran a drive-thru flu vaccination clinic in October. We did that partly to prepare ourselves for the possibility of a covid vaccine. We are in the middle of a pandemic so the more you can socially distance and keep in a bubble the safer you are. Having patients in a car in their own bubble is safer for us and safer for everybody else around.
“Part of this idea is safety and part of it is that this is a mass vaccine campaign, we have got lots to do. We can do them much more quickly and efficiently in a drive-thru.”
The February 7 drive-thru was held at Woolpit Business Park and operated with 41 staff and 28 volunteers.
Patients were sent invitation letters with a one-hour timeslot. On arrival, they were guided to vaccination stations to hand over paperwork and receive the injection.
A separate parking zone allowed those who wished to stay for 15 minutes post-vaccination.
A follow-up report concluded: "Overall patient satisfaction was high and patients felt safe, with a stream of positive comments. There were no long queues and patients did not have to wait long.
"Even in trying weather conditions patients still turned up to get their vaccination and were greeted by happy and helpful staff and volunteers who were able to make sure that the whole process was as smooth as possible for them."
Dr West said the health centre was ‘not doing too badly’ vaccinating its patients.
“We are getting nicely down our cohort, but we could do more,” he said. “The limit for us is having the vaccine rather than anything else. If we had more doses it would be a lot quicker."
Ed Garratt, Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System executive lead, said: “Learning from the drive-thru vaccination trial at Woolpit Lane will be used to inform any future proposals for a delivery model of this kind.”
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