First vaccinations for NHS staff take place at The Spitfire Ground in Canterbury

Sophie Hammond was the first person to receive the vaccine from Jenica Brezeanu. She is sitting in a chair while Jenica administers the vaccine. Both are wearing masks. They are in a large room with chairs and people behind them.
Sophie Hammond receiving her vaccine from Jenica Brezeanu

Published on 18 January 2021

NHS staff were bowled over to be among the first to receive coronavirus vaccinations at Kent Cricket’s The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, in Canterbury.

Hundreds have signed up to be vaccinated at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, next to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

It opened on Monday for health and social care staff only, and the first person through the door was Sophie Hammond, who works as office manager in the renal department at the hospital.

She said: “I wanted to be vaccinated to protect myself, our patients and my colleagues.

“It was so quick, I didn’t even feel it. I think this is a great venue for it and I’m a little surprised to be the first but pleased to have the opportunity to get my jab here.”

Marilyn Read, a healthcare assistant on Kent Ward, also didn’t feel a thing when her vaccine went in.

She said: “My mum is 94 and she has had her first vaccine, and I’m glad I’ve had mine now because it will help me stay well for her.

“It’s also about protecting our patients and making sure we can keep looking after them.”

Marie Gladdish, who works as an assistant administrator in the Children’s Assessment Centre at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, said the site couldn’t be more convenient.

She said: “It was a two-minute walk; I think it’s fantastic.

“The more people who get their vaccination, the quicker we will all come out of this so I’m glad to be able to play my part.”

Darren Base, a physiotherapist, was keen to get his jab to protect himself and his patients.

He said: “We are still seeing people face-to-face if that’s what they need so being vaccinated will help me stay safe and well.”

Rachael Williams, a healthcare assistant who works at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, made the journey to Canterbury for her vaccination.

She said: “Just like everyone else, I’m here because it’s the right thing to do.”

Nicky Bentley, director of strategy and business development, was at the cricket ground helping with marshalling.

She said: “It feels wonderful to be able to be doing something to help with the vaccination.

"There is a really positive energy here today and everyone is grateful for the opportunity to have their vaccination, and to protect themselves, their colleagues and our patients.

“It has all been really efficient.”

The ground was offered as a venue by Kent Cricket, and CEO Simon Storey said the club was proud to be able to support the NHS.

He said: “Kent Cricket has a part to play in many aspects of life in the County and it is good that we can use our facilities to help the huge public health effort to protect as many in our community as we can, as quickly as possible.”

The Trust’s pharmacy team oversaw the vaccination process, together with colleagues from occupational health and volunteers from across the hospitals who had offered to act as vaccinators.

Others helped by marshalling people and cars, or by making sure chairs and other areas were sanitised between people.

Refreshments were provided by East Kent Hospitals Charity.

Vaccinations for members of the public continue in line with the priorities set out by the Government, and people will be contacted by the NHS when it is their turn to receive their jab.