Royal Air Force enlisted in Stevenage as NHS calls for volunteers to provide booster shots
Members of the armed forces have been trained to give booster shots to thousands of people, as national effort to get a third dose of the vaccine to all adults by year-end intensifies .
At one of the country’s busiest vaccination centers in Stevenage, the Royal Air Force has been drafted, as calls have been made for more volunteers to come forward to help secure the deployment.
Senior Airman Lewis Barker came to East Anglia from RAF Lossiemouth, north of Inverness, and was trained to administer jabs as well as administrative duties.
He said: “We’re trying to deliver it as efficiently as possible. It means a lot to me. We’re here to work alongside the NHS basically, so it’s a good experience. The NHS colleagues are amazing – they’re c it’s great to work alongside. “
After training by NHS staff, he has started distributing vaccines and believes the target Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set is achievable.
“It’s worrying, it’s very nerve-racking, but after the first one you get used to it. The team here works nonstop, works long hours, so I think the goal will be met.”
Stephen Benton, who received his recall shot from Senior Airman Barker, said he was entirely behind the RAF and other armed forces assisting him.
He said: “I think it’s important because I want to be protected and from what I’ve seen people catch Covid it’s really nasty. I want to see my parents at Christmas, and I have nothing feeling.
“I think it can be an ongoing thing and the more people who do it the better.”
The NHS is calling on more people to come forward at vaccination centers across the country.
In Essex, there has been an urgent appeal for people to help with tasks such as being a flight attendant or providing administrative support.
Lorretta Freeman worked in retail and volunteered to help after her mother died in the first lockdown. This week, she was trained to be a vaccinator.
She said: ‘Like most of us, when Covid first happened, most people wanted to do whatever they could to help, and for me my mother’s death really did. rethinking my career The NHS was obvious to me to come and work for.
“I have done a variety of things, from administration to office work and the opportunity presented itself to be a vaccinator, I jumped at the chance.”
Helen Ringer has been self-employed and volunteering at Stevenage for the past nine months. She said she believed it was vital to complete the booster program so that life could return to its normal course.
She said: “I know the only way out of Covid is through vaccines. I manage in the parking lot and in the center, directing people in and out. It’s really busy and I think that the more people there are who can help the faster us’ I’ll walk through it and come out on the other side, that’s why I’m doing it.
The NHS is hoping more people like Helen can come forward, with four-hour all-day shifts available.
Cath Slater, deputy director of nursing at the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, which helps run a vaccination center, said it was a team effort.
“We had to look very creatively to use a range of people to help us do this very ambitious task,” she said.
“It’s great that we’ve been joined by colleagues from St. John Ambulance, the military and volunteers, as well as some of our own staff who have been in non-clinical settings.”