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  • The Rother Alliance

First-hand account of a vaccination steward

Rother Alliance councillors have taken on many unexpected roles during the pandemic from leading community aid groups to picking up goods for food banks. In this article, we hear from one Rother Alliance Councillor, Vikki Cook (Lib Dem), and her first-hand experience volunteering as a vaccination steward in Etchingham.

"I have sat in on various meetings and webinars in the last two weeks where the subject of Vaccinations has been prominent. At an RVA meeting I heard of a call for volunteers for stewards at the vaccination hubs and immediately applied via the Sussex Community Trust and the NHS responders."

"Previous experience and a reference from a fellow councillor ensured I was called to interview which was held by zoom. Within a week I found myself called to Etchingham where I began my volunteer shifts."

"I travel by train arriving 20 minutes before the shift is due to start and quickly step into a welcoming, reassuring role. There are 6 stewards on each 4 hour shift and everyone is friendly, cheerful and enthusiastic about their role whether it be the first welcome, the person suppling hand gel or cleaning surfaces, seats and door panels, accompanying clients from waiting area to the vaccination room or the person indicating which cubicle to go to for their vaccination. Security guards man the car park, the outside queue and the exit door ensuring observance of social distancing so that there is a steady flow of movement around the site."

"I have chatted to people from Rye, Icklesham and Winchelsea Beach, from Battle and Robertsbridge, hoping to set them at ease before they are called to the next available vaccinator. There are many eyes that I have recognised and people are often surprised to hear a voice they recognise, hidden as it is, behind a mask!"

"Everyone I spoke to, who have come for their vaccination, are so glad to be receiving their “jab” and willing to chat as they wait, not minding if there is a bit (or even a lot) of a delay and genuinely express their gratitude to all volunteers, clinicians and vaccinators."

"Each vaccinated person gets a pocket size card stating the date of their vaccination, and the batch number and a sticker!. Sadly though there are no lollipops or smarties or even a cup of tea at the end!"

"I have carried out a number of volunteer roles in my life and this is definitely one that is rewarding and VERY worthwhile." The Rother Alliance are proud of the work Vikki and other councillors have done during this pandemic alongside the brilliant work of our incredible local heroes, volunteers, NHS staff and key workers.


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