Residents in the village of Ticehurst, tuning into the weekly press conference from No10, found their village community-driven vaccination programme receiving praise from the Prime Minister.
At Monday’s Downing Street Briefing, Boris Johnson praised the ‘astonishing efforts’ of everyone involved in Ticehurst’s vaccination programme. He also gave special commendation to pharmacist Hardik Desai who rallied volunteers to set up the independent Ticehurst vaccination site in support of NHS efforts. Mr Desai’s work has seen around 350 people vaccinated every day while keeping his pharmacy open.
The Prime Minister is not the only member of Government to be a fan of the village’s efforts. Last month, following a debate in the House of Commons on the vaccination programme led by the local MP, Huw Merriman, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said he was ‘delighted’ with the opening of Ticehurst Village Hall as a vaccination centre.
The vaccination centre has been manned by over 150 volunteers from the village and its surrounds. Many are retired clinicians. Vaccinators include a husband and wife who formerly worked as consultant Anaesthetists. To enable the village hall to become fit for its purpose, local businesses have given their time, labour and materials. Parish Councillor, Teresa Killeen has been organising the volunteers.
Local MP, Huw Merriman visited Ticehurst vaccination site on Tuesday to personally thank Hardik, Cllr Killeen and many of the volunteers.
The MP said:
“I was grateful for the opportunity to visit Ticehurst’s vaccination centre and see Hardik’s hard work first-hand. Mine was a long-standing appointment but the Prime Minister’s words caused some media interest so I had to share my time with the camera crews. It was truly inspiring to see the strength of our community coming together to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19.
“I’m pleased that both the Prime Minister and Health Secretary have rightly recognised this outstanding community initiative. I look forward to supporting all of our local vaccination centres as they focus on the next five priority groups”
Ticehurst Vaccination Lead, Hardik Desai, said:
“I am humbled by our honourable Prime Minister Mr Boris Johnson and Health secretary Mr Matt Hancock for a mention of Ticehurst Village Hall vaccination centre in daily news briefing and the Parliament. I just want to say a big thank you to the Prime Minister and Health Secretary for appreciating our efforts in this big task of COVID vaccination on behalf of Ticehurst Pharmacy, Ticehurst Village and the Ticehurst community. We appreciate all of your efforts in getting the country back to normal and all you have done throughout this pandemic. It is a privilege for me to lead the vaccination team at Ticehurst village hall and I am very fortunate to have the support of Ticehurst Community Friends (TCF), all the volunteers, doctors, nurses and pharmacists by my side who have shown the willingness, kindness and compassion to help the community in these difficult times. We are in this together and willing to help with anything we can to get the country back on its feet again and I am very confident that we can achieve it together.”
Ticehurst Parish Clerk, Mrs Frankie Nowne, said:
“Ticehurst residents and our pharmacist have shown the true spirit of communities working together. Thanks must go to all the 158 volunteers, to Tates for the speedy delivery and loan of the car park sentry box, to Coppards for the resurfacing of the path, to Daniel and his father for working in the pouring rain to install a safe lit pathway to the centre and to G for the high viz vests. So many have done so much to provide local vaccinations. Cllr. Killeen has run a military campaign in achieving the smooth running of the operation and the lovely atmosphere at the centre is unquantifiable.”
More than 450,000 people in Sussex have now had their first COVID-19 vaccination. The NHS in Sussex has achieved the national target and more than 90% of everyone aged 70 and over has received their first dose. The vaccination has now been offered to everyone in the top four priority groups.
The roll-out of the jab in Sussex has now been extended to people age 65 and over and those who are clinically vulnerable. These next two priority groups for the vaccination are starting to receive invitations and are now able to book their appointments. People can book their appointments online throu