Vaccine centre volunteer reflects on “extraordinary 23 months”

The vaccine centre at Bedford Heights will close on 14 December

A volunteer at the Bedford vaccination centre which is due to close in mid-December has described the camaraderie among staff working there and praised their resilience.

“It’s been an extraordinary 23-month journey for everyone,” he told the Bedford Independent, saying that professionals, administrative staff and members of the public worked “superbly hand-in-hand from day one” at the Bedford Heights hub.

Describing days at the height of the pandemic, when 600 people would flood through the doors, he said: “As you would expect, not everything was straight-forward [but] there was rarely a dull moment.

“But while covid rocked the world the people of Bedford rocked up to fight it.”

The Bedford Heights vaccination centre opened in February 2021, a matter of weeks after the initial roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“There was so much fear at the start of the pandemic and it showed through the faces of the public,” said the volunteer.

“But there was a great resilience among those at the centre.

“There’s no doubt their efforts saved many lives – it’s sad it’s closing but hopefully it means the worst is behind us.”

Bedford Heights is one of the vaccination centres in Bedford Borough

As the news of the vaccine centre closure was announced yesterday (Thursday), Craig Lister, COVID and flu immunisation and vaccination strategy lead at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, paid tribute to the staff and volunteers at the hub.

“As we prepare to close the doors on these three vaccination centres, I’d like to pass on my heartfelt thanks to the staff and all the volunteers who worked there tirelessly to make sure the vaccination programme ran smoothly.

“They did a tremendous job and have saved people from very serious illness and lasting health problems.”