Like most people, when the 3rd lockdown hit I found myself at home and bored out of my mind, so when the Durham First Aid Society offered the chance to volunteer as a vaccinator through St John’s Ambulance I thought it would be a great way to help in my local community and also get out of the house! After completing an interview I was offered a training day, where I learnt the essentials of how to deliver a vaccine, along with basic first aid training. I was then lucky enough to receive the Covid Vaccine myself, before being deployed to a local pharmacy – those who know me will probably be relieved to hear that the volunteer vaccinators always work in the same room as a healthcare professional, so there was always support there when I needed it (or some backup for the more eccentric old people who we were vaccinating!)
Over the next few months I administered over 300 first doses and 50 second doses of the vaccine to those in my local community; not only was this incredibly rewarding but also provided a much needed break from endless online lectures! I also picked up some useful skills, getting to know the inner workings of a pharmacy and learning how to best accommodate people with disabilities.
A large part of the role also involved talking to each patient to address their concerns about receiving the vaccine; especially after the news of blood clots as a potential, although incredibly unlikely, side effect of the AstraZeneca Vaccine, it was important to make sure everyone felt safe and reassured about the vaccine (as well as my qualifications as a vaccinator – I’ve never seen anyone look more terrified than my secondary school physics teacher realising I was the one about to vaccinate him!
I’d definitely recommend volunteering for the vaccination effort to anyone who would like to help with the efforts against COVID-19, as there’s plenty of roles even for those who aren’t great around needles.