The British Red Cross and St John Ambulance Cymru are gearing up to support the coronavirus vaccination in a number of Welsh health boards.
Teams at both charities have been working with health boards to ensure volunteers are ready and able to support with the COVID-19 vaccination programme following the announcement of the approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The start date is likely to be in the New Year and planning is ongoing with training commencing imminently in readiness.
Volunteers supporting the scheme are selected in line with NHS planning and guidance from Public Health Wales.
In the New Year, volunteers from both St John Ambulance Cymru and British Red Cross will be working in shifts to support at one of their local vaccination centres.
Red Cross volunteers will be meeting people as they arrive, making sure they can find their way around the vaccination centre and ensuring they get the support they need before receiving the vaccine.
Meanwhile St John Ambulance Cymru volunteers, who are trained in first aid will sit with people after they’ve had the vaccination, to make sure they’re ok and identify any potential adverse reactions. Other roles are also being explored.
Volunteers will be working as part of a vaccination team lead by NHS staff, with training and PPE for volunteers to be provided by the health boards.
Kate Griffiths, director for Wales at the British Red Cross said:
“Our teams are deeply embedded in local communities and supporting the NHS with the COVID-19 vaccination programme complements the work we have been doing throughout Wales during the pandemic. From the beginning, we have been working with our partners to make sure that we concentrate our support in the areas where it is most needed.
“Through the dedication of our teams, we were able to support the Welsh Government by providing volunteers to deliver people’s medication to their doorsteps when shielding or unable to leave their homes. Meanwhile our teams of volunteers and staff have continued our regular work, helping people get home from hospital, helping people in emergencies like household fires and flooding, and helping refugees and people who are seeking asylum, all over Wales. The coronavirus pandemic has brought voluntary agencies, public and private sector even closer together to help those worst affected and this close working between the Red Cross and St John Ambulance Cymru and the NHS in Wales, is the next step.”
Helen Smith, Chief Executive Officer, at St John Ambulance Cymru said:
“St John Ambulance Cymru and the British Red Cross have a long-standing history of coming together during times of crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.
“Our St John people have been at the forefront of Wales’ response in the fight against COVID-19 supporting the NHS and Welsh communities. We’ve no doubt this partnership will strengthen these responses further.
“The announcement of the approval of the Pfizer vaccine is a very exciting step towards some kind of normality in 2021 and we’re looking forward to working closely with all involved partners and helping to deliver this vital service.”
More information about St John Ambulance Cymru including how to become a volunteer and their charitable work is available at: www.sjacymru.org.uk/volunteer.
For more information about the British Red Cross, to give help or to get help go to: redcross.org.uk