The Joys of being a Covid Vaccination Centre Volunteer
“Do you remember that bitterly cold spell at the end of January early February? Why then stand out in that cold that seeped into your bones, with snow flurries swirling about? At times I thought I must be mad, especially when I could no longer feel my toes!
But it was worth it! To see the stream of the early categories of people eligible for the vaccine emerging from the back of the Leisure Centre with a new-found joy that, at last, they had taken their first steps to end their period of hibernation and get their 1st Covid Vaccination.
I heard from many of these older people, after joking with them that this was either “Too much excitement for one day” or “You really know how to enjoy a day out!” that, indeed, this was the first time they had been out since Christmas, some even longer than that because they had been shielding.
Others confided that they had been dreading getting the jab, one or two unable to sleep the night before! Now they said that they did not know what all the fuss was about as they hardly felt the needle and it was over in a few seconds!
I also heard a lot of praise for how the centre was being run. At the time of writing (16/2/21) over 12,000 vaccinations have been given, sometimes more than 1,000 a day. This means that the equivalent of about 10% of the population of North West Leicester District Council area now have some protection from catching the Covid-19 virus. People were praising the smooth running of the operation how slick it was. I know it’s good. Where I was directed elsewhere for my own vaccination, it meant walking 100 yards from the temporary car park up a high street to a hall. Here on the other hand in Measham, for the most part, you can park immediately outside the Leisure Centre. It’s so good that inside, in the room where the volunteers sign in and out and maybe can catch a hot drink during their three-hour shifts, there is a Wall of Praise, with a growing number of positive comments about how good peoples’ experiences have been.
One person shared with me the thought that what-ever else the Government had got wrong in responding to the Covid pandemic, they had got this right. He was proud that the country had pulled together on rolling out this massive national vaccination programme which made him feel proud to be British. I’m sure there will be others that echo that sentiment.
So why volunteer? It is to be part of this great national endeavour that will bring a new sense of freedom to millions of fellow citizens. I am only a small cog acting as a catalyst that enables our local vaccination centre to function so smoothly. But I’m conscious that I am part of a much bigger network of thousands of volunteers from Shetland to the Isles of Scilly who are doing exactly the same thing day in and day out. Like me though, I expect they can’t wait for the longer days and warmer weather to see the joy in people as they to get vaccinated and to know that each day they volunteer, they helped to make it happen.”
Written by Steve Leary, 16/2/21