A day in the life of a vaccine volunteer

Here we are, Wednesday 20th January. 

A significant first day for some very well-known people across the pond and, in addition, one for me. 

This afternoon was my first session as a volunteer at a vaccination centre.

On arrival, having signed in and donned the yellow waistcoat, I had a lateral flow test. Judging by my involuntary reaction I definitely hit the right spot on the tonsils.

All clear, so I was asked to join a group of volunteers who were to show recipients to seats for their 15 minute relax post-injection, give them printed information about the vaccine to take away, explain their vaccination record card and that the NHS would contact them to arrange for the second injection some time in the next 12 weeks, and finally, if they felt odd during their 15 minutes to call one of us over and we would obtain medical advice for them.

Once the recipients had waited their 15 minutes, we were also asked to clean down chairs as people left and prepare them with the paperwork for the next people to come through.

I was also taken back to my waitressing days, as I was asked to do two drinks runs for all the staff and volunteers.

We were told that there were some 500 people booked in for their injections during this session.

Other volunteers were guiding new arrivals past the check in area, into the queuing system and out to the several vaccination stations around the room. 

Did anyone have a reaction? Well, I am aware of one person asking for a medic’s attention, however all was sorted within a few minutes.

Was I asked anything unexpected? Well: “Is this normally a church? If so, what denomination is it?”. I could answer yes to the first part of the question but had to admit defeat to the second.

It wasn’t mentally hard work, but it was satisfying all the same, for a variety of reasons.  Everybody seemed happy to be there so the mood was positive, it was good to talk to people other than my immediate family again after so long even only if in passing, and I felt as though I was being useful helping to get on top of Covid. 

The only downside was that I haven’t been on my feet for four and a half hours in one go for quite some months now, so I have ended up with tired feet – though I did think ahead and wear trainers.

Mostly, I have managed to take the last ten months a day at a time and have been fortunate to be able to avoid being overwhelmed by the whole Covid situation. However, perhaps I’ve been more affected than I thought, as when I got home, having sent a text to say I’m still available for more sessions if required, and writing this article, I just feel a bit lighter. 

Perhaps it’s because although I’ve seen so much progress being reported on the news, I’ve now actually been a part of it, and will hopefully be so again on a regular basis.

Huddersfield Times

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