Photo credit: Cardiff and Vale University Healh Board
We've ended our support of the COVID-19 vaccination programme throughout Wales.
Since the start of 2021, volunteers had been providing vital assistance at vaccination centres, working alongside the British Red Cross and staff from three Welsh health boards.
187 Vaccination Care Volunteers came together across Cwm Taf Morgannwg, Betsi Cadwaldr and Cardiff and Vale University Health Boards to provide aftercare and clinical support to people after they’ve had their jabs.
Most were Vaccination Support Volunteers, whose duties involved looking after patients and sitting with them to monitor any adverse reactions
But with the vaccination programme scaling down nationwide, we're reducing our vaccination efforts to focus efforts on our other charitable and first aid work.
In total, our volunteers covered over 2,000 shifts across 13 locations, giving nearly 11,000 hours of their time to the programme, playing a key role in the success of vaccinations in Wales, where 2.4 million people are fully vaccinated. *
Last year, the collaboration between St John Ambulance Cymru, British Red Cross and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board was recognised with a nomination for the ‘Partnership and Systems working in volunteering’ award at the Helpforce Champions Awards 2021.
Our Business Development Manager, Paul Wiggins played a key role in coordinating the charity’s response to the virus:
"The reaction we’ve seen from our volunteers over the last year and a half has been outstanding.
Their commitment to supporting the vaccination programme has gone a long way in allowing people all over Wales to return to some sort of normality as we begin to look to the future.”
St John Ambulance Cymru Business Development Manager, Paul Wiggins
Gareth Phillips, a volunteer with our Aberdare division initially started supporting vaccinations as a way of getting out and about during lockdown, but soon saw the difference he and his colleagues were making:
“To begin with, it was just good to get out and meet new people as there weren’t many opportunities to volunteer at the height of the pandemic.
But the more time I spent at the vaccination centres, the more I could see how much the work we did was having an impact in taking pressure off the staff so they could concentrate on giving out the jabs.
It was great. I loved having the chance to give back to the community during a difficult time.”
Vaccination Support Volunteer, Gareth Phillips
Also at the forefront of our efforts was Jess Rogers.
A volunteer of seven years, Jess gave over a thousand hours of her time to the programme at centres in north Wales, including the Catrin Finch centre in Wrexham.
Like Gareth, she quickly recognised the impact her work was having on the community:
“I found the whole experience so rewarding, and I’m so glad I was able to play my own role in helping things return to normal.
It was really amazing being able to reassure people who were a little bit nervous about needles, or give a little bit of extra assistance to those who needed it.”
Vaccination Support Volunteer, Jess Rogers
“We’re thrilled to have played such a vital role in the success of the vaccination programme across Wales.
Our volunteers have worked tirelessly, giving up their free time in the fight against COVID-19.
The impact we’ve made working alongside our friends at the British Red Cross and local health boards is testament to the great things we can achieve when we come together.”
St John Ambulance Cymru Chief Operating Officer, Benjamin Savage
While our vaccination support scheme has come to an end, volunteers will still be present in the Swansea Bay University Health Board area, where around 20 have recently received training to give jabs themselves.
*Our World in Data