Vaccination staff at West Suffolk Hospital have been recognised for their contribution to the local community with an award from the Queen's representative in Suffolk.

Earlier this year the hospital set up a pop-up vaccination clinic on its site to help ensure local health and social care staff got the life-saving Covid vaccination.

Ambulance crews, care home workers, opticians, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, funeral directors, supply chain staff, and social workers were among the more than 16,000 people that received a vaccination at the centre in the first round, alongside some vulnerable patients referred by local GPs.

After a couple of weeks' pause, the vaccination clinic started up again on Monday, March 15 to start giving out second dose of jabs, to maximise the protection given by the vaccine.

Bury Mercury: The Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk award certificate presented to the vaccination team at West Suffolk HospitalThe Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk award certificate presented to the vaccination team at West Suffolk Hospital (Image: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust)

These efforts have now been recognised with a Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk Award, issued by HM Lord Lieutenant Clare, Countess of Euston, and High Sherriff of Suffolk Bridget McIntyre MBE.

In the letter she wrote granting the certificate, the Countess said: "I would like thank you for the contribution you have made during the extraordinary and difficult circumstances caused by the Covid-19 crisis. Your selflessness and sense of duty are a credit to you.

"The innovation, collaboration, courage, and generosity shown by so many across the county during this time has been truly inspiration and uplifting.

"Our vaccination centres are beacons of hope and comfort to thousands of people. Thank you for the huge amount of work you have all done to help protect some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

"You are a shining example of all that is best in this county."

The work was made possible by the dedicated efforts of staff from across West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, including nursing and medical staff administering the vaccines, the pharmacy team handling the Pfizer vaccine and its stringent transport and storage rules, IT developers and the information team creating a brand new booking, administration, and reporting system, and estates and procurement transforming the executive office suite into the pop-up clinic.

Trust chief executive Steve Dunn said: "I send my greatest gratitude and thanks to all of the team for the never-ending professionalism and dedication that they have shown to both healthcare colleagues and members of the community, in delivering the vaccination programme here at the trust.

"Both myself and my fellow board members are truly overwhelmed by the commitment and contribution to this service."

Staff from the administration teams and the trust's loyal volunteers also stepped up to provide support and stewarding to ensure a smooth experience for all people being vaccinated.