Community Vaccination Champion
1899. Graham Jones
Graham Jones, from Berkshire, is a pharmacist who ran a massive community-led Coronavirus vaccine drive at his rural pharmacy, where many residents are older, vulnerable and at risk of isolation, and could not easily access larger vaccination centres.
Graham’s pharmacy is based in Lambourn, an isolated village with residents initially having to travel over 18 miles for a vaccination appointment, with many struggling to take this up. Graham led a volunteer team who gave up evenings, weekends and moved the entire pharmacy shop around to make sure that people with mobility issues could access vaccinations.
In a personal letter to Graham, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I want to thank you for your service to your local community, with the Coronavirus vaccine drive from your pharmacy in Lambourn.
“We relied on fantastic volunteers like you to get jabs in arms, which helped achieve the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe. Along with your ‘jabs army’, you allowed older people and those with mobility issues to be vaccinated. You were a beacon of hope in your community and you are a true Point of Light.”
I am privileged to work with a fantastic community pharmacy team serving a wonderful community. During lockdowns, like other community pharmacies, for many isolated people pharmacy became the point of reference to the outside world through both our emergency delivery services and also by maintaining an open door. For many we provided help and advice from familiar faces through a very scary time.
We have been pleased to have played a part in the recovery from the pandemic. Bringing the vaccination service to the Lambourn community has been very important to us. We are particularly grateful to an eager group of volunteers, led by Helen Noll, who have helped not only ensure that the service runs smoothly but also that we have been able to reach some of the harder to reach sections of society. My wife, Julie, has become the local expert guiding many through the vaccination programme.
The pandemic has showed the value of co-operation across clinical services giving us an opportunity to work closer with local surgeries such as laying on special evening vaccination clinics for the immunosuppressed. Community pharmacy has a growing part to play not just in treating illness but also in maintaining wellness.
It came as a wonderful surprise to be awarded a “Point of Light”. The award belongs not just to the pharmacy team but the Lambourn Community.