Somerset County Council supports the national vaccination effort

Hundreds of Somerset County Council staff are working tirelessly alongside the NHS and within communities to help support the fight back against Coronavirus.

Somerset County Council officers are redeployed from their ‘business as usual’ jobs to project manage the setting up of Somerset’s GP vaccination hubs, now live across Somerset.

Council staff are also contacting eligible residents inviting them to vaccination appointments, supporting the ‘Test and Trace’ effort if a Somerset resident tests positive, running the care home vaccination programme and delivering vital food parcels and PPE.

Staff like Gary Frecknall, who usually work as a Highways & Transportation Manager in the County Council’s Highways Team until the pandemic hit.

Gary was redeployed to support the country’s largest vaccination programme in living history and was responsible for setting up GP vaccination hubs in Somerset.

Liaising with the NHS Clinical Director, Gary ensured clinical equipment such as freezers to store the Pfizer vaccination and suitable PPE were on site, sourced digital/ICT equipment and patient information literature, and coordinated staffing ensuring clinical, administration, reception and marshals are available.

Gary said: “Getting everything ready at the vaccination centres is an enormous task; it’s a very challenging environment, but also very rewarding. We’re liaising closely with our NHS colleagues and I am constantly amazed at their professionalism and ability to welcome everyone with smile.

“I’m also very proud of Somerset County Council’s workforce who have mobilised to help with this huge logistical operation and who have received a warm welcome from our NHS colleagues. Together as a team we are making a real difference.

“The work can be emotional for both staff and patients alike as once vaccinated, a new life begins and that’s why we’re all here – to help bring that about.

“We are working through priority groups, and everyone will receive a vaccination appointment in due course. In the meantime please follow Government guidance to protect both yourselves and others.”

Don’t miss Gary speaking about his experiences in Somerset’s latest Coronavirus update:

With the news over the weekend that Taunton Racecourse is now live as a large vaccination centre and expected to vaccinate up to 900 people per day – and another mass vaccination centre is due to go live next week, Somerset’s vaccination programme is gathering pace.

Cllr David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council said: “I’m really proud of all our Somerset County Council staff who stepped forward to help in the fight back against Coronavirus and are now supporting the NHS and local communities to help save lives.

“Vaccination numbers in Somerset will continue to increase over the coming weeks and our vaccination centres will be running seven days a week. More and more people will be invited for their vaccination. Please don’t contact the health service, they will be in touch when it is your turn to be vaccinated. And, remember, even when you are vaccinated, it’s vitally important to continue ‘hands, face, space’ to continue to stop the spread of infection.”

If you, or anyone you know needs help, a single phone number is available for anyone in Somerset who needs Coronavirus-related support from their councils.

The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number, 0300 790 6275, is open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm, offering a range of support – from help accessing food or medicines, to emotional and financial support, and employment, skills and business advice.