A TALENTED 12-year-old Monmouthshire schoolboy is making an innovative device which, the school says, could well be used by the NHS to save lives in the UK’s fight against Covid-19.

Ed Smith, a pupil at Monmouth School for Boys, is a budding inventor and believes his device - a wooden container to easily mix vaccine vials - could speed up the process of administering the life-saving Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine.

Inspired by his GP parents, Peter and Sue Smith, who both work on the NHS frontline, Ed’s prototype - which he made out of Lego and then wood in his garage at home - can mix one hundred vials at one time.

Now Ed is liaising with Monmouth School for Boys’ design and technology (DT) department to make his device a reality, using state-of-the-art computer-controlled machines.

He says he’s working on a smaller capacity version to be used in the vaccine clinics because the injections need to be given soon after the mixing occurs.

“My parents are both involved with the NHS in the coronavirus vaccine programme,” explained Ed, a Year 8 pupil who has previously built Roman-style catapults, an e-bike, and a soap box car.

“My parents spoke about the difficulties in the vaccination programme because the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine vials need to be inverted, but not shaken, 10 times, in order to mix the vaccine properly before it is administered.

“I believe the invention that I have designed can work against this awful virus because it will increase the rate that the vaccinators can administer the vaccines to people.”


Ed first made a model prototype out of Lego and then built a working model using pieces of wood in his garage.

He is currently working remotely with Nick Goodson, a teacher in the DT department, who is using the school’s new X-carve Computer Numerical Control (CNC) router and Ultimaker 3D printers to make a series of improving models in pursuit of a device that will actually be used in the vaccination programme.

In addition to this project, Ed and Mr Goodson are building a tray, which can be used to transport the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and needles safely from mixing stations to vaccination tables.

“A single vial is worth a lot of money and is also very delicate so the process of transporting the vaccines is very important,” said Ed.

“Currently, old polystyrene trays that were used to transport blood test tubes are being used to carry the vaccines across a clinic, but I believe we can build something better.”

Mr Goodson said: “We are proud to be supporting Ed, who has taken on board the need for a product, sketched out his plans, made the device out of LEGO and then built it out of wood in his garage at home.

“I cannot remember anyone at the age of 12 who has driven forward a real-time project like this at school.

“As family of schools, we are delighted to be supporting Ed in his attempt to help the NHS by accelerating the speed of the immunisation process at Pfizer/BioNtech Covid clinics which could, of course, save lives and time.”

Mum Mrs Smith said: “Each vial only contains five or six doses of the vaccine so a lot of inverting of vials is needed at each clinic.

“Ed has set out to produce a machine that can invert a number of vials in one go, saving a lot of time and sore wrists, during the clinics.”

Ed added: “I have enjoyed the challenges. It has given me something to think about in lockdown because I enjoy inventing and making things.”