Coronavirus has left us wondering when normality will return or the ‘new’ normal, with eased restrictions, begin.
While there have been a small number of individuals who have recklessly flouted restrictions, there are a great many more who have longed to play a more active role in helping to beat this, or to ease things for those severely affected.
There have been many stories in the last year of kind, generous individuals and companies who have found ways to make a difference, but there are still thousands more who have longed to play a more active role in helping to beat this terrible disease into retreat.
January the first, not only marked the start of the New Year, but also the start of new hope the UK, as approved vaccines started to be distributed across the country. This also revealed the logistical challenges of implementing the largest mass vaccination project the UK had ever carried out.
The challenge has not been the short-term availability of vaccines, but the physical process of establishing enough pop-up vaccine centres, with sufficient staff and stewards on site to physically manage the through-put and successfully work through the entire adult population.
Through ‘Jabs Army, a major campaign, by The Sun newspaper, backed by the NHS and the Government, a call was put out for 50,000 volunteers to help in pop-up vaccination centres around the UK, in order to ensure that 15 million people were vaccinated by March.
Celebrities from Simon Cowell to Gary Lineker and health chiefs and MPs have backed the campaign calling on able people to sign-up and step forward. The Sun also joined forces with the Royal Voluntary Service.
Miles Baron, Chief Executive of The Bingo Association said, “We have 9,000 staff on hand ready to join the Jabs Army and our bingo clubs are a key part of their local communities, offering a large space and car parking to assist in any way we can.”
The initial target of 50,000 volunteers was reached in double quick time, on 18th January, as the mobilised force of volunteers helps make it happen.
The Government aims to see 15 million people vaccinated by March, as local NHS teams set up centres capable of administering thousands of ‘jabs’ a week, with the help of volunteer stewards, who form a key part of the Covid-19 vaccination teams alongside NHS staff.
Stewards guide people on site to make sure the vaccination process runs as safely and efficiently as possible, ensuring social distancing is maintained and identify people who may need additional support.
Volunteers can still join Jabs Army and will placed on the RESERVE list: you only need to commit to two six-hour shifts per month at a vaccination service near you and no prior experience or qualifications are required.
Volunteers are being asked to first register online at nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk following which you will receive an email with log-in details to sign up online: volunteers will be asked to download the GoodSAM app on a smartphone which will match you to a role in your area.