After delivering more than 80,000 COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccination centre at the Francis Crick Institute closes its doors today with the last vaccination taking place at 7pm.
The centre opened in January 2021 as one of the first large scale vaccine centres in London. In the following months, thousands of people walked through our doors to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.
Managed by University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust, the centre was largely staffed by volunteers from the Crick and our partners. Over 350 people stepped up to volunteer their time and sign up for shifts.
Sam Barrell, the Crick’s Chief Operating Officer said: “We are incredibly proud to have played a part in the NHS vaccination programme. The thousands of vaccines administered here over the last few months have all helped to save lives and begin to restore the sense of normality we lost to the virus.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without our NHS partners at UCLH and our army of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers. Thank you to everyone who helped, and to all those who came to the Crick for their vaccine.”
Over the last seven months we vaccinated a wide range of the local population, accommodating regular appointments and working with the local community to arrange vaccinations for those who don’t have a fixed address. And we’ve also had a few well-known faces choose the Crick for their vaccine, including Boris Johnson and Kier Starmer.
Staffing and running a mass vaccination centre at short notice was a massive endeavour and UCLH acting chief executive Tim Jaggard full of praise for the many staff and volunteers who pulled out all the stops to provide this service for the community.
Thanking the Crick for being “incredible partners”, he said: “We are so very grateful to the Francis Crick Institute for partnering with us and supporting this important project to get as many people as possible vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The Crick team actively sought out ways to support the NHS from the very start of the pandemic. Before we opened the vaccination centre together, they worked with us to develop testing capacity, and research new treatments, vaccines and the disease itself.
“To support the vaccination effort. The Crick offered the use of their facilities, as well as their and partner organisations volunteering their time to the programme. It is only though their generosity that we have been able to vaccinate so many people so rapidly.”
The centre will now return to its pre-pandemic role as a public gallery with a new exhibition ‘Outwitting Cancer’ opening later in September.
And until then, ‘A drop of hope’, our collection of vaccine-inspired poetry commissioned in collaboration with Poet in the City, can still be enjoyed outside the building and online. The poems are based on patient’s reflections on the pandemic and their thoughts and feelings about getting vaccinated. Together they form a rainbow in solidarity with the NHS.
The vaccination programme continues and people can still get their first and second doses locally. New centres will open later this month and you can book your appointment online or by calling NHS 119 and you can find out about walk-in centres in north central London here.