Today I did the most amazing thing. I got to visit two of our local vaccination centres.
First I went to Portslade and get the lowdown from practice partner Dr Rowan Brown. What they’ve achieved by converting this GP practice into an amazing vaccine superstore is incredible. Everyone was so friendly and professional, the whole experience is just lovely.
Then I went to the Brighton Centre which today vaccinated 2,500 people. Everything was calm and purposeful, warm and friendly just like Portslade. The only difference is scale. Getting vaccinated here is resembles Gatwick Airport North Terminal than a trip to the doctors!
I was really struck by something at both places that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until I was in the main entrance area of the Brighton Centre. There was a strange noise…people. It’s the first time in a whole year that I’ve been around so many people and you could hear the background noise of chatter, laughs, and conversation. It made me feel quite emotional!
I really can’t wait to be around people again, in stations and bars, on the beach and in restaurants. And for my team to be together in Hove and parliament. And that’s why this vaccine programme is so important. This is the key to making these wonderful things happen again.
No one I spoke to today enjoys getting injections but every one of them were just so happy to have been vaccinated. Everyone has their own reasons, seeing family, hugging friends or getting back to work. This vaccine programme is the key to making it happen, or as one resident who’d just been vaccinated said to me today ‘I’m one step closer to the pub now!’.
I got my NHS text message last night and I went online in a nanosecond! So on Thursday I’ll be making a return trip to the Brighton Centre but this time to have the vaccine myself and I really, really can’t wait. I want the peace of mind it brings to me but also for you, my family, friends and colleagues – I want to do my bit to keep them safe too.
Have you had the vaccine yet? What was your experience like, I’m keen to hear. Let me end by saying a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone I saw in action today. I was told in Portslade that when a new volunteer roster goes online 200 slots are filled in ten minutes. Wow! What a special thing this vaccine programme is, made special by the people who make it happen.