Bicester GP practices’ staff and volunteers could win the Vaccination Service of the Year award thanks to the unusual way in which they successfully delivered Covid-19 jabs during the pandemic.

The team behind the Bicester Vaccination Centre, which was established at Bicester Heritage on the former RAF Bicester airfield, are on the shortlist of nominations and will learn if they have secured top place on Friday, December 9, at the General Practice Awards ceremony being held in London.

Read more: Dozens of firefighters left the service last year

Award judges are seeking best examples of innovative immunisation delivery, multi-disciplinary health teams working together and best ways of meeting the immunisation needs of local people.

Bicester Vaccination Service was originally in competition with over 80 other entrants from across the country before progressing onto the shortlist of just 9 that are now in line to win.

Those who set up the Bicester system for jabs came from all three of the Bicester GP practices – Alchester Medical Group, Bicester Health Centre and Montgomery-House Surgery.

In late 2020 they successfully negotiated to use an empty hangar on the airfield and then kitted it out for use as a key vaccination facility with the help of local businesses.

The building quickly became the centre for delivering a huge vaccination programme for patients living in Bicester and the surrounding district.

Over 72,000 COVID-19 jabs were given, including 10,000 right before Christmas 2021 during the Omicron Emergency.

Hundreds of local people acted as volunteers to ensure everything at the Bicester Vaccination Centre ran smoothly from its opening in January 2021 until February 2022.

Dr Toby Quartley, one of the Bicester GP leaders at the Vaccination Centre, said: “The whole team were amazing and to be close to winning this national award is fantastic recognition for everyone who’s played a part in the extraordinary effort to protect Bicester’s population. 

“Bicester Vaccination Centre at the airfield will always remain in the memories of those who worked there and visited.

“This will go down in the history books as an example of how our local healthcare professionals and the whole community rallied to the challenge and succeeded when it was most needed.”

According to government data, 127,327 people in Cherwell have had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination.

Compared with 122,756 having had their second dose, and 102,221 who have been given their booster vaccination.

In total, 352,304 people in Cherwell have had a Covid-19 vaccination.

In December 2021, the rate of Covid cases in Oxfordshire were higher than the rest of the UK, and Cherwell had the highest rate of infection in the county.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing:

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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