Vaccination hub transformed into mini toy town for youngsters

14th Feb 2022

Part of a Black Country vaccination hub has been transformed into a mini “toy town” as it starts welcoming eligible 5-11 year-olds for their COVID jab.

Staff working for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust have created “Vaccination Street” at Tipton Sports Academy with the area boasting colourful shop fronts, road markings, a treasure hunt and toys for the youngsters attending.

It aims to put clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) young patients who attend the clinic, which is run by the Trust, at ease.

Six cubicles have been decorated by both clinical and admin teams at the centre who worked together, discussing their ideas to create the artwork.  There are also games and a treasure hunt for the young children to take part in when they arrive.

Daisy Cutler was brought to the centre, in Wednesbury Oak Road, by her mum. The seven-year-old is registered as disabled and both her parents decided they wanted to protect her against the virus.

“I thought the experience was really child friendly,” said Samantha Cutler, from Cradley Heath. “The staff made a point of making us feel welcome and distracting Daisy. I think she’s actually enjoyed coming in and having her injection.

“Initially when we received a letter that she was eligible we were a little apprehensive, but both my husband and I are triple jabbed and decided that it would be right for Daisy to be protected too.

“The whole experience has been positive and child-centred which is important. I think she probably won’t have much hesitation when we come back for the second jab.”

Marc Tandy, aged 36, took his two children Cleo, aged five and Aston, aged 11, to the centre for their first dose of the vaccine.

Little Cleo has asthma whilst Aston has a heart condition – they are both classed as CEV. Marc said: “I got the call inviting them both for their vaccines and came along with them. I was really impressed with how the area had been decorated and set up for young children. It’s so welcoming and also a perfect setting for little ones. My two were distracted with the artwork, toys and treasure hunt as soon as they arrived, so that when it came to them having the jab, it was given to them quite easily.

“Neither of them cried and they happily carried on afterwards exploring the area. It really is a credit to the staff – not only have they created this area, but they are friendly and professional.”

Nena Mason, Clinical Lead at the site, explained more: “The drawings were completed by several different colleagues, but the idea came from Kayleigh Beardsmore one of our vaccinators.

“The games and other distraction techniques were my idea. The first two parents who visited the site with their children were amazed with the whole process and felt we had got it right as their kids were nervous before coming to be vaccinated.

“The treasure hunt, which starts as soon as they arrive in the building, helped distract the youngsters whilst walking through the centre.

“Ensuring they are calm before the actual vaccination is a big plus. The kids themselves were smiling and laughing all through the process as we made it fun.

“Afterwards the children wait 15 minutes following their jab, they are able to play with games thus creating a fun atmosphere rather than a clinical one.”

The vaccination centre recently underwent an observational learning visit by NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) and was praised for its good practice.

Mel Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer, added: “It was great to see the centre called out for the way it is operating by NHSEI and the recent transformation creating a children’s area really does amplify further the good work the staff are doing.

The space looks incredible and will certainly help the children attending to relax whilst having their jab.
“Walking into a clinical environment like a large vaccination clinic can be a daunting experience especially if you are a child, so we hope this will really help.
“We’d like to thank colleagues for their amazing artwork and help in creating such a colourful and bright space.”
The parents of youngsters who are eligible are being contacted directly by the clinic’s staff to offer them an appointment, available between 3-6pm Monday to Friday and 8am-6pm on weekends.


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