Praise for volunteers who have been crucial in rollout of coronavirus vaccine in Wigan

Health chiefs have paid tribute to the army of volunteers who have devoted thousands of hours to the borough’s coronavirus vaccination centres.

Saturday, 5th June 2021, 4:55 am

Volunteers have played an important role in the vaccination programme and spent 35,000 hours supporting the four centres since December.

They decided to get involved while furloughed from their jobs, alongside work and family commitments or using their free time to help people across Wigan get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

More than 300,000 jabs have been given to people in the borough so far, with 60 per cent of all residents having received the first dose.

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Dr Tim Dalton, a GP and chairman of NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Our volunteers have played a critical role in getting as many of our residents vaccinated, as quickly and safely as possible.”

“I’m hugely proud of the efforts of all volunteers and their continued dedication to make sure all our local people can be protected. I see and hear for myself how well the vaccination hubs have been doing and the sustained team approach.”

Dr Gen Wong, a GP and clinical director for Leigh Primary Care Network, based at Leigh Sports Village’s vaccination clinic, added: “Fellow NHS colleagues and I would like to thank each and every person who has taken time to help. They are the true unsung ‘heroes’ of the vaccination rollout and the varied roles they have played within the centres, from ensuring safety by maintaining social distancing and cleaning chairs, to simply providing that reassuring smile so you know you’re in the right place.”

As lockdown restrictions ease and people return to work, more volunteers are needed to ensure the vaccine rollout continues.

Along with playing a vital role in the programme, volunteers can benefit from getting involved.

Dr Wong said: “It’s great to listen to why people feel they want to help at a clinic. I have heard many different reasons, such as a chance to meet new people and build confidence, feelings of ‘doing my bit’, it’s rewarding to be helping through a time of crisis and also those that want to ‘give back’ to the NHS for a personal reason.

“For me personally, I enjoy seeing the same welcoming faces and knowing that we are all working towards the same goal; no matter which part each of us plays, we are all making the difference.”

Volunteers are urgently needed for a range of non-clinical support roles at the vaccination centres.

Anyone aged 16 and over who would like to find out more can email [email protected] or visit healthierwigan.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccination/volunteer-at-a-vaccine-clinic/

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