Our Jabs Army say they're 'so happy to help out' on frontline to get Britain vaccinated
THIS team of plucky Jabs Army recruits were out on the front line yesterday.
Wrapped up against the biting wind, yellow-vested volunteers waited outside The Lodge vaccination centre in Wickford, Essex.
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It may not have looked dramatic – but this handful of Jabs Army recruits were going into battle against Covid-19.
The team of seven Sun readers were there to assist elderly patients as they arrived to get their vaccine at the NHS office building, which has temporarily been turned into a vaccine centre.
For many older people, a trip to the vaccine centre was the first time they’ve left the house in almost a year – so having a friendly face to greet them was priceless.
Kelly Southam, 38, signed up to the Jabs Army campaign after witnessing her family in the NHS help fight Covid on the front lines.
The operations director said: “I’ve got family and friends in the NHS on the front line and I’ve seen what they’ve been through. I haven’t been able to help really but when this came up it gave me a chance to do something useful.
“It’s been so rewarding and everyone’s been absolutely lovely. There was a gentleman in yesterday (28th) who hadn’t been out of his house since February last year.
“His daughter’s promised him fish and chips after the jab which he is so excited for and it was really amazing to see the freedom this jab is going to bring.
“We may be a tiny cog in the system but we’re an important one all the same.”
Many of the elderly people being directed into the centre by Kelly had dressed in their Sunday best to mark the occasion.
Fellow Sun reader Steve Miller, 52, said it was lovely to see how seriously they were taking it.
He said: “It’s the first time many of them have been out, they’ve got their ties on and their dresses. You can see how happy they are to be out.
“I wanted to volunteer from the off but couldn’t work out how but then I saw Jabs Army in The Sun so I signed up.
“The last thing we needed was the NHS staff out here doing this. We get to add value to the experience and people are really pleased to see us and have a chat. It’s so rewarding.”
Standing by the door was fellow helper Bill Assenheim, 75, ensuring people arriving for their vaccine were directed to the correct station.
He has a long history of volunteering for the NHS and spent 15 years helping in A&E before he had to stop to care for his ill wife, who passed away in August.
HOW TO REGISTER
TO register interest, visit nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/nextinline.
You will be contacted as soon as a suitable volunteer role becomes available in your area.
Other roles available may include Patient Transport, Community Response (shopping and medicine delivery), NHS Transport, Check in and Chat.
- Register at: nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/nextinline
Bill said: “My girls have been badgering me to get out and do things since my wife passed. When they saw this they thought it was perfect and got me to sign up.
“The staff have been fantastic with us, a few of the nurses even laugh at my jokes. It’s nice to be out and seeing people like myself.
“Being here makes me feel proud, I’m doing something to help and everyone else should too.”
SAFETY for our Jab Army volunteers is paramount.
Here we answer your questions about how you will be protected while working as a Steward Volunteer in a vaccine centre:
When I do my voluntary duty will I be safe from catching Covid?
Volunteer and patient safety is the NHS and Royal Voluntary Services’ top priority.
While is no upper age limit for volunteering but being a Steward Volunteer is a frontline role and is not for anyone who is in a medium or high-risk category.
Team leaders will ensure volunteers have the correct equipment to keep them safe at all times and social distancing will be in place throughout volunteer shifts.
There are lots of other volunteering roles available on the website.
Will I be asked to wear PPE?
Yes, the safety of volunteers is extremely important and you will be provided with appropriate PPE at the vaccination centres by your team leader.
Will I come in direct contact with patients?
One of the key jobs of our Steward Volunteers is to make sure people queuing up to receive their jabs are keeping to a safe social distance.
This is also includes yourself, so, where possible you will be two metres away from patients and other volunteers.
What training will I be given?
You will be provided with a comprehensive ‘Getting You Started guide’ to explain everything that is required on site.
As this is a non-clinical role, no specific training is required and once you arrive on site, team leaders will take you through a site introduction and briefing.
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