When the first vaccinations centres on the island where created staff became quickly aware of the logistic challenges delivering the BioNtech Vaccine. The vaccine cannot be moved once prepared and will time expire, in addition it is a multi-dose vial and once out of the cooling chain it cannot be re-cooled.
As we were creating roving teams to vaccinate in care homes this would create potential wastage of the scarce resource of COVID Vaccine we have- On the other hand many front line staff were anxious to be vaccinated and the local trust was not chosen as a primary vaccination hub making this challenging in the current surge.
Clinicians within the island system set up a grassroots initiative - to address both of these challenges - a WhatsApp Group called #NoJabWasted. Sole purpose of this WhatsApp group is to make use of every COVID Jab prepared on the island and make spare ones available to front line staff.
Members of the group understand that they are eligible to have a COVID Jab but will not be guaranteed one. Group members need to be willing to travel to vaccination sites, often on short notice when jabs will become available at a specific local site - this will be announced on the chat if and if chat members reply that they can get to that site in the time frame available they will get a jab (and as currently stands a second one within government guided time frame).
All staff on the group are in the same priority list and it is a strict first come first serve- no priorities will be made.
Despite often very short notice (30 min) the initiative has been taken up well and we managed to vaccinate over 100 carers, nurses, ODPs, Radiographers, ED and Mental health workers and Doctors of various specialities last week- with only very few jabs not given.
This has been an amazing collaboration between primary care doing the vaccines, community and care homes supporting its delivery and secondary care making sure that their front line staff have early access to vaccine but also volunteering personally to help out vaccinating in the community, working across professional and organisational boundaries in an extremely challenging time.
An additional benefit is that the WhatsApp group has created a form of contact and information sharing of all things ‘vaccine’ and the planned official staff vaccination has been discussed and promoted there as well.
We will see how we can utilise the group the maximise use of the Astra Vaccine as well should it come to the island.