Representatives from Leeds were part of an exchange of best practice with cities from across Europe today, as part of a discussion organised by Leeds’ partner city of Brno in the Czech Republic.
The Leeds team was led by Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults, supported by Tony Cooke, the council’s Chief Officer for Health Partnerships, Sam Prince who is the NHS Executive Director of Operations for the Leeds COVID Vaccination Programme and Dr Phil Wood who is the Chief Medical Officer for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Having now delivered over 175,000 vaccines to priority groups in Leeds, the Leeds team was able to share insights about how to organise vaccination on a massive scale, how to organise communication about the rollout and the importance of having strong partnerships with local communities.
The Leeds team joined representatives from Vienna in Austria, Stuttgart and Leipzig in Germany, Poznan in Poland, Bratislava in Slovakia and of course, our Czech partner city of Brno. Topics ranged from the role of the city councils in the rollout, the types of vaccines used, vaccine hesitancy, how the vaccination process is financed and how to manage information and misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines.
The city of Brno is the second city of the Czech Republic, and has been an official partner city of Leeds since 2003, although cooperation dates back to the 1990s. In recent months, the city of Brno has organised a number of zoom meetings with Leeds and other partner cities across Europe to learn about the diverse approaches to certain topics, such as inward investment, city promotion and the visitor economy during the COVID crisis.
As part of Leeds’ efforts to strengthen relations with its European partners post-Brexit, Leeds and Brno are hoping to re-sign a Memorandum of Understanding later this year. This agreement will cover several key cooperation areas including health & wellbeing.