This week, staff nurse Julie Henwood had the opportunity to have a one to one call with His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge, about her personal perspective on being part of the vaccination programme and her role as a School Immunisation Nurse. Julie has been part of the COVID-19 vaccination programme at Wokingham since Day 1 and has delivered more than 800 vaccines to health and social care staff.
“I spoke about how it has been a massive team approach” said Julie, “it’s not just the vaccinators, but the front of house welcoming people, admin organising the clinics, car park attendants, security, pharmacists, cleaners and more. He sounded so genuinely interested in my experience and how my team were coping with the pressure. Even though it’s a lot of work, everyone is motivated to protect as many people as possible.”
Julie was the first person to give the COVID-19 vaccine at the Wokingham hub, the day before the clinic went live. “I talked about how daunting it felt to give the first dose in front of twenty of my nervous but excited colleagues.
“I told The Duke about how we all became familiar with the vaccine very quickly. Learning about how its mixed and stored, and reading all the information we could so we were ready to answer any questions that people may have – and they had some interesting ones, such as “how does the vaccine actually work?” and “how long will the vaccine give protection?” Not every question has answers yet.
“I spoke to him about our school immunisations (Imms) team and how 6 members had joined the COVID vaccination team full time so they’re working harder and longer hours than they’re used to – It’s truly a Trust effort.
“Working in Imms already, I know how important it is to reach people who don’t normally access healthcare, or in our case, schools. So, when care home staff have asked if we can take a photo of them having their jab to reassure their colleagues, I’ve been happy to.
“It’s important to be able to encourage and reassure those who are little bit more reluctant or unsure, that the vaccine is safe and is going to protect them.
The Duke thanked everyone working on the programme for doing such an incredible job, describing it as a “Herculean effort” to have rolled out the vaccine so quickly.
“He was such a natural, genuine, caring person and his questions were very thoughtful,” said Julie. “To be speak to His Royal Highness was an amazing opportunity and I am so thankful to have been nominated. I can’t wait to tell the team.”
Find out more
The NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme has started.
The vaccine is currently being offered to those most at risk from coronavirus.
Details about how to book your vaccination appointment are being sent out now.
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