Chinese whispers from the queue

Thank you to all our volunteers, 40 of us each day, led by Rotary, giving our time in support of the vaccine programme which is going so well nationally. Yesterday’s weather was horrible; worse at some times of the day but the spirit of all volunteers was amazing. As it poured rain in the early morning I spoke to those at the Civic Centre and was told “we are having fun”. I visited in the afternoon; the wind was cold and the puddles deep but the spirit remained happy. The queues of Friday evening were not repeated. Everyone who experiences what the vaccine means to those receiving is more than adequately rewarded by the unspoken gratitude in their demeanour.

The NHS site at Debenhams suffered a glitch early in the week. Perhaps it was a bit too ambitious too early and a combination of issues led to long queues in the cold. A review overnight improved the situation. Thank you to the additional volunteers who now attend each day. It will never be perfect to have to wait in the cold, particularly for the older generation who may not have been outdoors for a year, but protecting from the virus by distancing is a challenge. One hopes there will be no health problems following this unpleasant experience. There has never been a national effort on this scale or against such a threat before.

Today there was a small queue which was flowing nicely. Officers from the District Council were on hand to help. Foil wraps were by the door should they be necessary. The salvation Army was there with a snack truck last evening when the queue grew a little.

There is a great will for these centres to work and where there is a will there is a way. But of course there is still room for improvement. People arriving very early for their appointment were part of the reason for delays. But this morning I observed a couple forty five minutes early who were able to join the short queue immediately. They did not complain about the icy wind.

As the days pass the effort becomes more refined while Folkestone’s 42,000 people get vaccinated twice and possibly on an annual basis. It is lovely to be able to be part of it and we hope to continue to do our bit, just as volunteers helping the organising bodies.

It the meantime things may go wrong and lazy journalists will continue to write their articles based on a few individuals on Twitter. Isn’t it irritating how the opinion of one person can gain such prominence because the journalist does their research on twitter. “One person on twitter reported what a passer-by was reported to have said”, reported the journalist. The mind boggles where such Chinese whisper could go.

Thanks again to all our volunteers

Joe Sullivan

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