In January 2021, we reported on how over 100 Freemasons from across the Province had responded magnificently to St John Ambulance's appeal asking for volunteers to apply to join the NHS COVID-19 vaccination team (link).
Since then, many of those brethren have gifted their time in various ways thereby contributing to the nation's very successful vaccination effort.
One such volunteer is WBro Chris Winfield, our Provincial Grand Organist.
WBro Chris gave us the following insight into his role as a volunteer:
After jumping through a good number of hoops following my application - including an online interview, applying for an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, several St John and NHS online learning-modules and associated tests (which I had to pass); also, face-to-face training with St John at Spalding - I was finally accepted and received my NHS T-shirt (two in fact, plus a fleece).
I completed my first shift at the Northampton Vaccination Centre as a care-volunteer. Not doing jabs, but instead assisting citizens pass through registration and onward to the medically qualified assessors.
It was an interesting and very rewarding experience. Also, a very humbling one.
We were only doing 2nd jabs, so the citizens were almost all elderly. They came-through smiling and in good spirits, with not one complaint even when having to wait due to us being backed-up.
I lost count of the number of times I was thanked for volunteering but must admit to feeling somewhat of a fraud as that was my first shift.
I'm aiming to work one shift each week and will be in again this Friday. The St John Ambulance contract requires a minimum of two shifts per month.
In Northamptonshire, St John are currently only supporting the one mass vaccination centre. There's also one in Oakham, Rutland, and half a dozen in Leicester.
I understand that there could be more centres in Northamptonshire so as to accommodate younger citizens being called in for their first jabs whilst still maintaining the effort to deliver 2nd jabs.
Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Mark Constant commented:
We are extremely proud of all our volunteers and the significant contributions they are making at this important time.