A Day in the Life of a Vaccination Volunteer (Part 1)

The first day of Debenhams vaccine centre yesterday. I joined the first shift which ran at a slightly gentle pace so that they could see that all is in order. What an impressive set-up. All the staff in new scrubs. This is a professional looking centre with great ambitions; up to 3000 vaccinations it said on the TV this evening. The TV people were there talking to the boss of the Health Trust so they should know. The vaccine has breathed new life into the old building as well.

Once again there was a wonderful mood. There was a fantastic team spirit amongst the staff and it is easy to be enthused by the effect the vaccine has on these older patients. They are all happy as they leave. I encourage them to nourish the antibodies as they form in their arms. A pint of Guinness might do the trick. I suggested it many times. But where would you go to get it? came the replies. There was one person who tearfully said “I hate needles”. I am sure most people would have the vaccine by knitting needle so that they might visit their grandchildren soon or hug a friend.

You can feel this vaccine working. Not only is the building alive again but it is filled with real humanity, in the team spirit, with altruism, with the child-like joy of old people nearly skipping away and it has also engendered something extra special; a sense of community. The marshals just want to be there. One man said he was prepared to do as many days as possible. Many who email me to join with the volunteers say they want to be involved in any way possible.

We hope this will continue. We in Channel Rotary gave nearly £10,000 to schools for lap tops and tablets for the children in recent months. We gave £7000 to mental health charities during Lockdowns and many other donations to hardship funds. We gave for the Winter Shelter for the homeless, and to Age UK. Some of this fund was raised by a member of the club who swam in the sea every day of the last lockdown. More was raised by the Channel Triathlon in September which we were lucky to be able to run between lockdowns. It has been a bad year for fundraising but we did our bit. The other Rotary club in the town does similar work in the community as well. A virtual Santa’s Grotto!!! I don’t understand but it worked very well in raising funds.

So it will be fantastic when this is all over if at least some of our volunteers will continue to support our community service. There will be a time for that. But we can learn from what we can do together by each giving a little time – well, for some of us a bit more than that but that will pass as well. In a place like Debenhams this morning it is clear that one is but one little cog in the machine but without all those little bits of humanity nothing would happen.

It is a privilege to be part of it.

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