Community Pharmacy in Ticehurst receives national ‘Extra Mile’ award for outstanding vaccination service

Community Pharmacy in Ticehurst receives national ‘Extra Mile’ award for outstanding vaccination service

An East Sussex Pharmacist and his team have been recognised for their work to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to the local community.

Hardik Desai was presented with the national Independent Pharmacist Extra Mile award at an event held in the House of Commons recently, for his work in setting up one of the first pharmacy-led COVID-19 vaccination services in Sussex.

The Independent Community Pharmacy awards highlights the inspiring ways in which community pharmacy services meet the health needs of their local communities across the UK.

Hardik was awarded in the Extra Mile category for his outstanding contribution to the vaccine roll out, where he has used the local village hall in Ticehurst as a clinic to administer vaccinations to local residents. To date they have provided 74,000 vaccinations.

The team assembled by Hardik in January 2021 quickly grew from 40 to 180 volunteers and together with colleagues, he also set up a second vaccination service at Tilling Green Community Centre. Across both services, they provide jabs to more than 800 patients a day.

Mr Desai said:

“I’m really pleased to have been recognised for the vaccination service we’re running in Ticehurst and I couldn’t do it without the vaccinators and volunteers who have been instrumental in making it happen.

“There is such a good community feeling here, volunteers are so up for the job and are great at what they do, the support from the community has been amazing and it has really brought the community in the village together.”

“Everybody here is doing the job with their hearts in it by going the extra mile and spending the extra minute or two with each person to ask how their day is going, it makes such a difference.”

Hardik and his team are now turning their attention to booster vaccinations, ensuring everyone in the community who is eligible for their booster is able to access the extra protection.

“Now that we’re moving on to administering booster jabs, the older people know they can just drop in for their boosters, especially if they find it hard to book using the online system.”

“Just yesterday we had about 130 walk ins on top of the 320 booked appointments we had for boosters so it’s great that people are coming forward to top up their protection.”

Hardik conclude

s:

“It’s been a challenging time with many of us working 12-14 hour days to ensure we get the service right, but I have a supportive family and ensuring the community is protected makes it all worthwhile.”

The Ticehurst pharmacy-led vaccination service are still offering first and second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for anyone in the area who still needs it, as well as boosters vaccinations for those who are eligible.

People currently eligible for boosters include; anyone aged over 50, health and social care workers, those who have underlying health concerns or anyone who is a carer or lives within someone who is immunosuppressed.

You must also have a six-month gap between your second dose and your booster.