Our King George Vaccination Hub team make Harley, 15, feel like a star

Harley arriving at our Vaccination Hub

For Ila, mum to 15-year-old Harley (pictured above arriving at our Vaccination Hub), who has Autism and Cerebral Palsy, getting him the vaccine as soon as he was eligible was the most important thing she could do to keep him safe.

She did however expect it might be a bit more of a challenge for her, something she often finds as the parent of a child with additional needs.

After conflicting advice and confusion over where Harley would be able to have his jab, she finally spoke to Taz Milbank, Lead Nurse for our Covid Vaccination Programme.

Ila, of Romford, said: “From that moment, everything was brilliant and she couldn’t have done enough. She sorted it so that he could come in after opening hours to have his jab with less people around, something which was really important to Harley.

“She met us and was chatting away to him, as Harley loves meeting new people. It also helped that the nurse who gave him the injection was called Shannon. There is a Shannon who he watches on Youtube so he was laughing about that and it built a rapport between them. Before Harley knew it the jab was done, he didn’t even flinch, and Taz and Shannon kept him chatting until his observation was up. It was the best thing ever for both of us, they made him feel like a star.”

Harley had this jab, his second, at our King George Hospital Vaccination Hub in September (Harley is pictured below giving the thumbs up following his jab).

Harley is giving the thumbs up following his jab

For Ila, 45, keeping Harley, who is clinically vulnerable, safe during the pandemic, has been the most important thing, which was why she was so keen for him to have his vaccine.

She added: “Harley can’t wear a mask as he doesn’t really understand and won’t keep it on. We’ve not really been socialising, my husband has been working from home, and we both had our jabs to keep him safe. So it was frustrating that we struggled at first to find somewhere suitable for him to have his. Kids like Harley are forgotten children as they don’t fall into a normal category.

“I hope that by sharing my story it will help to raise awareness, for more hubs to consider children with additional needs like Harley, and to reassure other mums and families. We had such a brilliant experience with Taz and her team that we’ll definitely be coming back for his booster!”

Harley has also inspired our Vaccination Hub team to go that extra mile for those with additional needs, including decorating a designated booth for children (below).

Our colourful booth decorated to make children feel more welcome

Taz said: “Speaking to Ila was a lightbulb moment for me as we don’t know when we have someone coming to the hub who might have additional needs.

“Our reception team now ask this as part of the booking in process so we can ensure anyone who does need it can be fast-tracked. I also asked Ila to share what we can do with her networks, and since having Harley in we have started to get calls from other families needing more support. It’s not uncommon for us to give vaccines out of hours for those who really need it.”

Having the vaccine is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from all variants of Covid-19, and you can book online.


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