NHS COVID-19 vaccination centre opens at London’s Francis Crick Institute

Cancer Research UK

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The Francis Crick Institute's vaccination centre

The Francis Crick Institute's COVID-19 vaccination centre. 

The Francis Crick Institute – of which Cancer Research UK is a major funder – has partnered with University College London Hospitals (UCLH) to establish a COVID-19 vaccination centre at the Institute. 

The vaccination centre aims to vaccinate up to 1,000 people a day and run 7 days a week. Professor Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, senior group leader at the Crick and a consultant at UCLH was key in establishing the centre. 

“The success of different vaccine trials represents an amazing feat of science,” says Swanton. “To have been presented with a virus, never seen before in humans, and within a year, be starting to vaccinate the most vulnerable, is a huge achievement. As scientists, we want to use our skills to continue this progress and help bring an end to this pandemic.”  

People over the age of 80, at-risk individuals in priority groups and frontline healthcare staff will be the first to be vaccinated as part of the NHS programme. As the national vaccination programme evolves and expands, so will the Crick centre, offering vaccinations for residents in the local community in Camden and Islington according to Government prioritisation.  

The Institute have asked people to wait to be contacted by the NHS before going to a vaccination centre.  

The Crick’s civic duty 

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The Francis Crick Institute's vaccination centre

The COVID-19 vaccination centre aims to vaccinate 1,000 people a day. Credit: The Francis Crick Institute.

More than 300 researchers and staff from the Francis Crick Institute and its partners have volunteered their time to help with the vaccination programme.  

Most scientists will be fitting shifts in the vaccination centre around their research, with those coming into the building tested twice a week. This includes those working on COVID-19 testing for NHS staff, volunteers in the vaccination centre, those doing COVID-19 research, long-term research or time-critical experiments. Many scientists are continuing their work from home, in line with restrictions.  

“Getting the UK population vaccinated is a major task and it is part of the Crick’s civic duty to do all it can to help. These are the first steps towards allowing the UK to become normal again – getting the economy going, and crucially, protecting the vulnerable. I am grateful to everyone at the institute who is helping to make this possible.” – Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute 

The vaccine centre will be set up in the Francis Crick Institute’s Manby gallery, named after one of the founding philanthropists of the Crick, Charles Manby. The centre forms another part of the Francis Crick Institute’s response to the pandemic. Since April, staff at the Institute have been running a COVID-19 testing for local healthcare staff, processing thousands of samples a week.

In the lab, scientists have been exploring many different aspects of the virus and the disease it causes, including how the body’s immune system responds to severe infection and how patients with cancer are affected.