Leeds museum makes history by hosting Covid-19 vaccination hub

High-risk patients get Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at Thackray Museum of Medicine

The Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds, England, is being used as a Covid-19 vaccine centre Courtesy of The Thackray Museum of Medicine

The Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds is playing a part in the UK’s historic coronavirus vaccination programme by hosting a Covid-19 hub where people can receive doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The museum has adapted its conference area into a vaccination centre, which welcomed high priority patients this week including care home staff. The initiative was set up in partnership with Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation.

The museum, located next to St James’s Hospital, charts the history of medicine, housing a collection of 47,000 items of historical medical equipment. One of the galleries, called Disease Detectives, focuses on the technology used to diagnose ailments. Nat Edwards, the museum director, says in a statement: “Just to witness the very best of modern medicine in action alongside the whole history of humanity’s centuries of effort to understand and overcome disease is hard to describe.”

Edwards confirmed that the museum is also in talks to host the third phase trials of another Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the biotechnology firm Novavax and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Chris Twelves, the clinical director of the NIHR Leeds Clinical Research Facility, told Museums Journal: “We look forward to working with the Thackray Museum as we follow up with these volunteers. It’s equally exciting to be working with the Thackray Museum to deliver the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to the first 'at risk' individuals in our local communities.”

The museum was due to open during the summer following an 18-month refurbishment but remains closed due to Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions in England.