Royal Navy personnel among staff administering vaccines at Bath Racecourse

Royal Navy personnel were among those administering Covid-19 jabs at Bath Racecourse, which has become a mass vaccination centre.

Hundreds of people received their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at the site on Wednesday – the first day that it was open to members of the public.

The centre will be open seven days a week and is for people currently eligible for a vaccine who live within a 45-minute drive of the site.

Royal Navy personnel administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (Ben Birchall/PA)
Royal Navy personnel administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (Ben Birchall/PA)

Anne Williams, clinical nurse manager at the mass vaccination centre, said: “It’s an amazing thing for us to do.

“I think it’s what nurses are all about, we can do something positive and we can make a difference and we’re seeing that now in action so it’s great.

“We’re all doing 12-hour shifts but we’re all happy to do it.”

Ms Williams said it had been “a lot of work” transforming the site into a mass vaccination centre.

On Wednesday, staff were aiming to administer 450 vaccinations and this is due to increase to 900 per day next week.

Coronavirus – Wed Jan 27, 2021
Coronavirus – Wed Jan 27, 2021

When asked about Royal Navy personnel joining the effort for four days, she said: “They’ve been great.

“They’ve got such a great spirit and the public loves having them here so that’s been a real bonus for us.”

The Royal Navy personnel at the site are part of the Vaccines Quick Reaction Force.

This is made up of medically trained personnel from all three services.

Personnel are deployed to sites only when required and requested by the NHS in a surge capacity.

There are 21 Quick Reaction Force teams in total, three for each of the seven NHS regions – East of England, London, Midlands, North East and Yorkshire, North West, South East and South West.

George McClean, 78, a retired construction worker, received his Covid-19 vaccine at Bath Racecourse on Wednesday along with wife Angela, also 78.

“It’s brilliant, I’m feeling great. I never even felt the injection,” Mr McClean said.

Mr McClean said he had missed seeing his grandchildren “terribly” throughout the pandemic, as well as being able to go to the pub for a pint.

He told the PA news agency he was looking forward to “living a normal life” in the future.