In the summer of 2022, a monkeypox (Mpox) epidemic was declared in the UK. The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) was rolling out a vaccination programme primarily targeting groups at higher risk of infection including members of the Gay, Bisexual, and Men who have sex with Men (GBMSM) community.
The Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) were offered space at the National Institute of Research Oxford Clinical Research Facility (NIHR Oxford CRF) to set up a vaccination centre. Together with staff from Sexual Health, Covid vaccine team, Patient Contact Centre and Pharmacy at OUH, they were able to quickly set up a clinic to deliver the first dose of the Mpox vaccine. Going above and beyond to ensure that the clinic was set up rapidly and able to administer over 1000 doses, earned them the prize for delivery at the annual OUH Staff Recognition Awards 2023.
Mel Snelling, Lead HIV / Infectious Diseases Pharmacist who nominated the team said: 'I feel this is a fantastic example of delivery because so many teams and departments worked together to deliver a monkeypox vaccine clinic within 2.5 weeks of being asked to set it up.'
The team accepted the award from Jason Dorsett, Chief Finance Officer of OUH at a ceremony at Oxford Town Hall. Andrea Dale, Consultant Nurse at Oxford University Hospitals Trust commented: 'I'm immensely proud of everyone. We worked very hard across lots of teams: research, pharmacy, and admin, to deliver a vaccination project with a very short window of opportunity. I think we offered a brilliant service. We also managed to recruit to an important research project with Oxford University so the collaboration with them is great.'
In parallel to the vaccination clinic, a team of researchers at NDORMS saw an opportunity to run a new research project and gained ethics approval. Working with other labs from the University, and the clinical vaccine team at the NIHR CRF, the IMOVA study explored the immune response to the M-Pox vaccine being delivered, which had previously been developed for the prevention of Smallpox. Led by Dr Philip Drennan, Kennedy Trust Prize DPhil Student at the Kennedy Institute, 35 participants were recruited to the study which they hope will inform responses to any future epidemics.
Cushla Cooper, Clinical Operation Lead at the CRF said: 'The effective alignment of patients, clinicians, and scientists brought together in the environment of the CRF facilitated rapid recruitment of participants. Implementing the IMOVA study provided the opportunity to improve inclusivity and diversity, reaching a population that may not routinely access research programmes, and enabled the research portfolio to prospectively reflect current healthcare priorities.'