Please introduce yourself, your usual job role/location and tell us a how you came to be a vaccinator
My name is Kemi Adegboyega and I am the outpatient sister at the Candover Clinic, a private healthcare facility on-site at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital. By the time the Hampshire Hospitals was planning its COVID-19 vaccine clinics, I had been at home for almost a year on maternity leave. I was really struggling with guilt with being away from my team and the trust during such a difficult year, so it was a no brainer for me to get involved and do my part. I saw the trust’s recruitment communications asking for volunteers to help with the vaccination clinic and I went from there.
What was your experience like receiving the first dose of the vaccine?
To be honest, I was one of the early doubters of the vaccine. I was apprehensive, swayed by negative press. Once I had enough time to do my research and look at the bigger picture - which is keeping myself, my loved ones and my patients safe - it was then easy to make the right decision, which was to have my vaccination. Receiving my first dose was like a little light at the end of the tunnel and I felt hopeful that collectively we were seeing light at the end of the tunnel from this terrible virus.
From a vaccinator’s perspective how you have found the vaccine clinics so far?
The vaccination clinics have been so well managed and organised. We are an amazing team of nurses, healthcare support workers, admin staff and pharmacists – and we work so well together. We tend to have a de-brief before each clinic and at the end of the shift too - communication is excellent and the best part of the clinic is seeing how appreciative our patients are that they have the opportunity to get their vaccinations. We get so many messages of thanks and it makes the job so rewarding and satisfying.
What kind of conversations have you had with your colleagues, family and friends about the COVID-19 vaccine? What themes/opinions are you seeing?
With my colleagues, conversations are usually around how lucky we are to be prioritised and had our vaccinations in the grand scheme of the UK pandemic response - this means we are protecting ourselves and our patients.
With friends and family, I have tried to convince them to take this awesome opportunity to get vaccinated when it’s offered. The theme seems to be ‘I’m waiting’ – to see what the side effects are, particularly in the minority ethnic community, and to see what the outcomes are for those that have been vaccinated. If favourable, then they will get vaccinated too. Lots of the people I’ve talked to have come round - especially members of my family.
What would say to someone who has yet to take up the offer of a COVID-19 vaccine?
The amount of people who have already been vaccinated in the UK alone speaks volumes to our general feeling of hope and positivity. We want to get rid of this virus. Let’s all do our bit to eradicate it completely - get vaccinated and protect yourself and your loved ones.