A formerly hesitant nurse is appealing to everyone to get their vaccines and support the NHS this winter on the one year anniversary of the covid-19 vaccine clinic launch.

Toyin Oladotun – commonly known as Lady T – and her occupational health nursing team at St George’s sprang into action when the pandemic hit and launched one of the first vaccination clinics in the world on 8 December 2020, but it was another two months before she got vaccinated.

She said: “We were so excited to start administering the vaccine to protect as many people as possible against the virus, but it was difficult for me as I had friends and family warning me, as a black woman, not to get it as they were concerned about what might happen.

She added: “I spent almost two months vaccinating other people and processing all the evidence before I got my first dose. I thought I can’t tell others all the benefits and not take my own advice, plus I was vaccinating people of all different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds – they all received the same advice, had their vaccines and were perfectly fine afterwards.”

Lady T is now appealing for all those who haven’t received their vaccines yet to come forward saying there is “no judgement” to getting your first vaccine now, as others receive their boosters, what matters is coming forward and getting vaccinated.

She said: “I went from running around finding staff to give leftover vaccine doses to at the end of the day instead of getting it myself, to being proud to have got my first, second and now booster jabs too.

She added: “I understand those who are a little more hesitant, as that was me too, particularly for those that their hesitancy comes from a deep-rooted place or a fear of needles, but I’m always so happy to chat to anyone about how they’re feeling about it.

She added: “Getting the vaccine is quick, easy and not at all scary – I’d urge everyone to get it and to speak to a medical professional if they want to discuss anything they’re concerned about. We’re all here to help and there is no judgement. It’s never too late to be vaccinated to give you the best protection this winter.”

Lady T has even influenced those outside of St George’s via the media and social media with several people attending the walk-in clinic saying they want to be vaccinated by her.

She said: “It’s been so positive to see people coming in who have been encouraged to come forward by our efforts and then be able to vaccinate them too – it’s very rewarding.”

The St George’s vaccine clinic has seen people aged 12 to 101 years old getting their vaccine, totalling 100,000 vaccinations in a year.

Rob Bleasdale, Chief Nursing Officer at St George’s, said: “I am incredibly proud and would like to thank Lady T and our whole vaccine clinic team for providing protection and reassurance to our staff and local communities in south west London over the last year – but it’s not over yet and I’d continue to urge the public to come forward for their vaccines.”

He added: “Looking after yourselves this winter by getting your covid-19 and flu vaccines and wearing a mask in enclosed spaces is the best form of protection against both viruses and supports NHS staff. If you need medical care but it isn’t an emergency, please call or access NHS 111 online before attending our emergency department as often there are more appropriate NHS services available to you which can be quicker, such as your GP or local pharmacy.”

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact communications@stgeorges.nhs.uk