The COVID vaccine, from a pharmacy perspective

West Cumberland Hospital made history yesterday as it was one of the first in the world to roll out the COVID vaccine. But it wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t been for the commitment and processes put in place by the Trusts dedicated pharmacy team.

Cumbria managed to secure the vaccine after a huge logistical feat to ensure all processes were in place to enable the storage and administration of the jabs.

Paul Fieldhouse with freezer.jpegPaul Fieldhouse, Clinical Director or Pharmacy, explained:

“The vaccine requires special storage, particular careful handling in preparation for each dose and there’s some complexities in there that mean we can only use it at the West Cumberland Hospital site at the moment but we are looking at how we can have deliveries into other parts of Cumbria as soon as possible.

“We’re working with other Trust across the county, especially in the north East. Newcastle hospitals have been tremendously helpful in supporting the implementation of this vaccine and as soon as we can, we’ll make it available elsewhere in north Cumbria.”

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -75 degrees, it is then diluted and added to individual vials to be administered. The processes that have been quickly put in place are by the pharmacy team have allowed west Cumbria to be in the first phase of the vaccination programme.

Natalie Peat, pharmacy site operation lead, said:Natalie Peat (2).jpeg

“It’s a programme we’ve been working on for a couple of weeks now. We’ve been working collaboration with lots of different people around the hospital, estates, doctors, nurses, it and everyone here in pharmacy, we’ve all had our roles to play.

“It’s being quite hard doing that alongside dealing with poorly patients who are coming in with COVID but everybody has really pulled together and worked through it.

“I think it’s an amazing achievement. It’s something I’ve never experienced in my lifetime, I’ve never been through a pandemic before and I think it’s absolutely incredible that we are one of the first Trusts to be able to vaccinate people”

Occupational health.jpegPaul added:

“We pulled out all the stops to make sure that Cumbria was in the first roll out. A dedicated team consisting of pharmacy colleagues, estates, nursing leads, occupational health, HR, IT, infection prevention, health and safety and finance worked round the clock to make sure that Cumbria was given the priority it needs to fight this virus.

“I am so very proud that we managed to do it and we are now in the best position we can be in order to protect the people in north Cumbria.”

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