GOVERNMENT investment into potential vaccines – with the risk they might never work – has given the UK hope that for the first time we can see light at the end of the cavernous and dark coronavirus tunnel.
Yet having the vaccine isn’t enough, people need not just one jab but two.
🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates
Our excellent GP network has stepped in and kick-started the roll-out.
I want to reflect on one such centre.
St Edmund’s Church Hall, just off the Mount in Chingford.
Here Dr Asad Ashraf, working round the clock with Melanie Cook and others, created the centre in days.
But to ensure it ran smoothly they needed volunteers.
It would have been understandable if people stayed at home, fearing the risks, but they didn’t.
They came and volunteered to be trained to vaccinate and help guide and look after those people having the jab.
And I joined them on Fridays as a volunteer.
In it I saw the very best of the British character.
From the calm leadership of Dr Asad to the incredible, upbeat spirit of the team of volunteers.
I can recall one morning, during a lull between appointments, one volunteer showing dance steps to a colleague, to applause all round.
The caring demeanour of all the volunteers helped calm those coming in who were nervous.
Then there was the utter relief of those vaccinated chatting to volunteers, many who were neighbours and friends
Laughter bubbled up in the most unexpected places as people put aside all those divisive issues and treated each other with humour and respect.
Sadly, the centre closed last Friday.
Dependent on often patchy vaccine deliveries, it averaged a remarkable 6,500 vaccinations a month, though now the NHS favours much larger centres.
But I believe there should still be places like St Edmund’s, filled with local volunteers serving local people, for that human dimension should never be forgotten.
Quite simply, I loved being there and would recommend others do the same.
- Sir Iain Duncan Smith is MP for Chingford and Woodford Green and former Tory leader.
Toon Army joins the Jabs Army
MORE than 1,000 new recruits have boosted our brilliant Jabs Army to help in Covid hotspots.
Since we launched our new appeal for volunteers, over 600 Sun readers a day have signed up to help out at vaccine centres in 50 towns and cities that desperately need help.
The list of locations where extra volunteers are required is below.
If you live in one of these locations and have spare time to give, why not sign up?
Or, if you are one of our existing 50,000 Jabs Army volunteers, you can check out shifts on your GoodSam app.
Between now and Sunday 15,000 volunteers are needed to complete shifts at more than 600 vaccination centres around the country.
In Newcastle upon Tyne yesterday, a group of football fans swapped the Toon Army for Jabs Army, volunteering at the city’s Centre For Life, where they are vaccinating 1,200 a day.
Newcastle United fan Summara Lees, 41, said: “I manage to do a few shifts each week, and it feels great knowing you have made a difference.
“Even Sunderland fans would agree that the Jabs Army is a great team to be part of.”
Former A&E nurse Summara added: “Getting more volunteers is hugely important to support the NHS staff and make sure everyone is vaccinated.”
Magpies fan Graham Blacker, 74, said: “You’ve got to give something back and I thought this was one way of doing it.
“I love talking to all the people and getting to know them.”
50 Places that need your help
HERE are the 50 towns, cities and council areas where the Jabs Army needs YOU now:
- Barking and Dagenham, Essex
- Barnet, N London
- Birmingham, West Mids
- Bolton, Gtr Manchester
- Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Dorset
- Bradford, West Yorks
- Brent, W London
- Camden, N London
- Cannock Chase, Staffs
- Chelmsford, Essex
- Cheshire West & Chester
- Colchester, Essex
- Croydon, S London
- Dudley, W Mids
- Ealing, W London
- Fenland, Cambs
- Hammersmith and Fulham, W London
- Hillingdon, W London
- Hounslow, W London
- Kensington and Chelsea, W London
- Knowsley, Merseyside
- Lambeth, S London
- Merton, S London
- Newark and Sherwood, Notts
- North Norfolk
- North Somerset
- Peterborough, Cambs
- Preston, Lancs
- Rochdale, Gtr Manchester
- Salford, Gtr Manchester
- Sandwell, W Mids
- Slough, Berks
- Sutton, S London
- Tendring, Essex
- Walsall, W Mids
- Wandsworth, SW London
- Wigan, Gtr Manchester
- Wirral, Merseyside
- Wolverhampton, W Mids
It was student Mohna Hossain’s first day as a Jabs Army volunteer.
Mohna, 23, said: “I was nervous but now I’m chilled and enjoying it.”
Retired police officer Wendy Aspey, 61, added: “My daughter works for the NHS and she said they were desperate for volunteers so my husband and I signed up. It’s a privilege to be able to help.”
Sign up today
TO sign up with the Royal Voluntary Service, which organises our Jabs Army shifts, register at nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk.
And if you are one of the existing 50,000 recruits but have not yet been able to do any shifts, find out where you are needed by clicking on your GoodSAM app.
Make sure the Location setting is enabled on your phone.
Click on the Future Tasks tab and shifts available in your area will appear.
If there is one you can do, click Accept.
It will give details of centres and when and where to report.
Source: Read Full Article