A community pharmacist, Viral Doshi was honoured with the British Citizen Award (BCA) on Thursday (26 January) at the Palace of Westminster for transforming his community centre into vaccination hub during Covid-19 pandemic.
Viral was presented with his Medal of Honour by Liam Sargeant, Senior Company Communications Manager, from supporters P&G and TV presenter and Patron of the BCA, Nick Knowles, who hosted the event.
At the height of the pandemic, Viral obtained approval to transform his community centre into a vaccination hub. Located in the heart of a multi-ethnic population, with social deprivation, surrounded by wards experiencing high rates of Covid-19. His determination to increase uptake and reduce vaccination hesitancy, led to 80,000 vaccinations being administered, the overall highest vaccination uptake in North West London.
Viral is a passionate advocate for the role that GP practices and community pharmacies can play in supporting the health agenda. His objective, to provide better choice and access for the community have been fully met and appreciated by patients. His initiatives led to a dramatic increase in the clinical skills, knowledge and services offered by local community pharmacies around a variety of health topics. This enabled pharmacies to adopt a holistic health approach to working with their communities.
Viral has been at the forefront of many local initiatives improving the lives of people in the community. He identified that many local authority colleagues were unable to visit a GP or pharmacy due to their work commitments. He set up an on-site drop-in clinic and gave free health checks, identifying high blood pressure and risk factors, referring them directly onward as needed.
Immediately following the formal presentations, the medalists and their families boarded an open top bus for the Lap of Honour Tour courtesy of Big Bus London. After taking in some of the iconic sights of the capital they disembarked at Church House in Westminster for a Certificate of Honour presentation. The certificates, presented by representatives from One Stop, Specsavers, Places for People, P&G, completed the official BCA proceedings. Each of the organisations associated with the BCA reflects the community spirit and care for the community that the medalists are recognised for.
The BCA was established in 2015 to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on their communities and society. The BCA recognises true community heroes who would otherwise likely be overlooked. Dubbed ‘The People’s Honours’, the BCA has so far recognised over 450 exceptional individuals for their divergent endeavours, making them a very exclusive group of the nation’s favourites.
In partnership with One Stop, BCA awarded 29 individuals from around the UK for their exceptional endeavours which have positively impacted communities up and down the country. The award is now in its ninth year and recognises an elite group of exceptional individuals in January and July each year.
The January 2023 cohort of medalists have collectively been responsible for over £7.25m in fundraising, have impacted over 272,000 individuals, and have been committed to their chosen causes for over 395 years. Each person selected to receive the BCA Medal of Honour as a legacy for their achievements, richly deserves the right to use the letters BCA after their name in perpetual recognition of the nation’s gratitude.