#Teamlivuni student doctors support the Covid-19 vaccine rollout across the city region 

Posted on: 15 February 2021 by Lauren Mathews in February posts

student doctors
Medical students Anish Patel and Emma Wilkinson (Photo courtesy of Liverpool Medical Students' Society)

Over 500 students from the University’s School of Medicine jumped at the chance to support the COVID vaccine roll out, and have been struck by the power of a tiny vial to lift the spirits - not least their own.  Lauren Mathews, Communications and Events Officer in our School of Medicine, has been finding out more.

'When you ask students what prompted them to sign up for the vaccination programme you’re invariably met by a strong desire to do their bit and contribute to national efforts, as well as be a part of the glimmer of hope the vaccine provides.  

“The vaccine really is the light at the end of the tunnel,” says year 5 student Maddie Boyers. “It’s a sign of better things to come for a lot of people and it's lovely to be a part of that,” agrees Student Doctor Sophia Hart.   

“There’s a great sense of optimism,” notes year 3 student Reuben Veysey-Smith, “People are asking, ‘Can I have people over?’, ‘Can I go see my grandchildren?’ They can’t wait to get back to some sort of normal.”  

group of medical students

University of Liverpool medical students at a Wirral vaccination centre (photo courtesy of Wirral CCG)

Student Doctor Charlie Hextall describes how the vaccinators work in pairs and at a fast pace – aiming for one dose every 6 minutes. But he still finds a way to connect with people, “One of my favourite things is to ask people what they are having for tea. This doesn’t help my diet, but I’ve found it’s a great way to get to know a person that you might only meet once, just for a few minutes.”  

Charlie never fails to raise a smile when running through the standard safety checks, “One of which is to check if the patient is pregnant. Since most are over 70, this often catches them off guard - especially the gents! Even after nearly 100 times making the same joke, I’m still laughing!”  

Reuben is a fan of mixing things up with his own preamble, “If it’s an elderly couple coming in to get the vaccine together, I'll try and catch them out and ask the wife if she can tell me her husband’s date of birth and vice versa. The husbands never remember, I've gotten a few of them in the doghouse I'm sure.”  

If laughter truly is the best medicine, it’s nice to see Liverpool hasn’t lost its sense of humour.   

“The funniest response to "Have you got any serious allergies to anything?" was "Only to Everton". His LFC face covering should have given it away!” laughs Maddie Boyers.   

Alongside the jokes there’s reminiscing too, sharesyear 4 student Juliana Ang, who began working at Liverpool’s Lee Jones Centre when she was unable to spend Christmas with her family over in Malaysia.  

Some of the elderly patients share their stories about the community centre with me, how they used to come here to play as kids and how it has helped many children over the years. Now, things have come full circle, and the centre is once again serving and protecting them.” 

Students have also helped set up pop-up vaccination clinics in a bid to ensure all members of the community are protected. Liverpool Councillor Abdul Basit Qadir captured the moment his parents received the vaccine from StudentDoctor Mohammed Ali at Princes Park Health Centre.  

student vaccinating patient

Lecturer Christinah Makondo receives her vaccination from student Joe Massias

Clinical Skills Lecturer Christinah Makondo was delighted to find the tables were turned at her own vaccine appointment as it was StudentDoctor Joe Massias on the other end of the syringe, “I was very impressed by his professionalism, skills and technique, and am so proud and excited that our students are helping my local community overcome this pandemic.”  

Dr Jane Fletcher, Clinical Director at Wallasey Wellbeing, has also been impressed by student doctors such as Reuben who are bolstering efforts on the Wirral, "The students are motivated, quick to learn and a huge asset to our service.”   

The feeling is mutual according to Emily Wyman, “You really don’t realise just how hard the NHS staff work until you see it. I only hope I will be able to work to their high standard in my future career.”  

But it is GP Dr Simon Tubin’s encounter with Student Doctor Ellis Keddie and the kindness and compassion extended to a grieving patient that reminds us of the heavy load the pandemic has caused so many.   

As Ellis puts it, "Many things about 2020 (and 2021) have been uncontrollable, frightening and downright rubbish!  But being able to see first hand staff across the NHS, including student doctors, stepping up and tempering the storm with hard work and lots of kindness has been inspiring."

Discover more  

See how the University is working to support the NHS and city region through the pandemic.   

Follow stories of our student doctors over on the School of Medicine Newsfeed.