Praise for the High Peak vaccination volunteers working tirelessly to help others

The rollout of the vaccination programme in the UK has been moving at an incredible pace – but none of it would be possible without all of the people working on the frontline to help immunise the country.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 7:00 am

And now, one older member of the High Peak community who has already received his second dose of the Covid vaccine wants to praise the local volunteers who are helping to staff the centres and especially the younger generation.

Stuart Boyt from Buxworth said: “A lot of people, in particular the younger generation, have stepped up and offered to help when they didn’t need to but they did it because it was the right thing to do.

“The younger generation deserve all the praise for their wonderful actions helping with the jabs and vaccines to make people safe again.”

Stuart Boyt visits Thornbrook Surgery to thank volunteers Jess and Katie Christie and Sam Longden

The 83-year-old who lost his wife and daughter to cancer and is a cancer survivor himself says the advances in modern medicine are amazing.

"This vaccine has been created to help people and keep dinosaurs like me alive and its great but what is more amazing is how many have offered to help out. It reminds me of my time in the forces - you do your bit to help others.

"These people aren’t getting paid like the doctors and nurses are, they are using their own time to be at the vaccine centres.

"Too many people are too quick to give young people a bad name but the people I have met have been nothing but marvellous.”

The vaccine volunteers have been out in all weathers

Stuart said the people volunteering are the future of the country and added: “With the next generation like this I know I could put my life in their hands and be safe.”

The volunteers are from all ages and backgrounds and Jess Christie who volunteers at both the Buxton and the Chapel-en-le-Frith sites, says she has really enjoyed her time welcoming visitors to the car park of Thornbrook Surgery in Chapel.

The 23-year-old said: “I’ve stood outside in the snow and the rain and the wind but hopefully there is more sunshine on the way to stand in.

"My friend, my sister and I all signed up to be volunteers as we wanted to do something, anything, to help.

Some of the vaccine volunteers

"It’s been so nice to just have a bit of social interaction after what has been a weird year of not seeing people and you feel part of something.”

Jess gets an email on a Wednesday asking her for her availability for the week and she then chooses when she can help out. Normally she volunteers for two shifts, one weekday and one weekend one which she can fit in around her job.

She added: “It’s really nice to be recognised for the work we are doing but we aren’t doing it for the praise.

"The vaccine means normality again, meeting friends, having the pubs open and staying safe and it’s great to say I’ve been a part in helping the country get back on its feet. I’m not doing much, the doctors and nurses are truly amazing and have worked so hard I’m only doing a little bit whenever they contact me.”

Car park volunteers

The vaccine roll out has been done in phases with the most elderly and vulnerable receiving the vaccine first along with front line health workers and now people in their 40s, 50s and 60s are being called up for their jab.

Practice manager at Thornbrook Surgery Samantha Todd said: “All the volunteers have been integral to this vaccination roll-out and we quite literally could not have done it without their never ending support and offers of help.

"We have had so many people volunteer which has been great because for the last year many people have stayed inside to help the NHS and stop the spread of Covid but now there is a way they can actually help and people feel like they are doing something.

"We will never be able to thank each and everyone of you enough. You stepped up when we needed help from directing cars to working inside and inputting data - you have all been incredible.

“We didn’t have the staff to pull off this mammoth task but with the help of the volunteers we are now offering second doses to people who received them at the start of the year and continuing with our first doses for people in the area.

"It’s been demanding but the volunteers have made it easier so thank you.”

Jobs done by the volunteers at both centres include directing cars on the car park, checking people in, ensuring correct PPE and hand sanitisation is completed and doing computer work inside the surgery.

Although the operation of mass vaccination is running smoothly the surgery said at the end of March there were more than 200 invites with no responses for those in the over 50 category and people are being urged to contact the Thornbrook Road practice if they have had the vaccine elsewhere or wish to decline as they need to know so they can offer it to someone else.

A spokesperson for NHS England has also praised the good work of the volunteers and said: “We are grateful to the tens of thousands who applied and trained for a paid or voluntary role as part of this programme, thousands of whom have already started playing their part.

“Thanks to them, and the many existing NHS staff who have trained to deliver vaccines or perform other important roles, the NHS has had enough people to deliver vaccines as quickly as supplies allow.”

If you would like to sign up to be a volunteer more information is available on the NHS website at www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/i-want-to-volunteer.

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