When Britain was at war with Omicron at the end of in the year, ex Armed Forces personnel stepped up willingly to assist with the NHS. They’re the untold heroes of the vaccination drive who worked hard at the festive season to see Britain enhanced and protected from the Covid-19.
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The former members of the Armed Forces came forward in large numbers when the call was made to form an army of highly skilled and committed aids to the NHS could count on. In the years since, these individuals have generously offered their time and know-how that’s only gained when you’ve sacrificed your time and energy for your country over the years.
Over the last few months, they’ve set up the foundations of dozens of vaccination centers across the nation, and coordinated all sorts of supplies from PPE to vaccines themselves, and also learned the best way to immunize people.
Their input is vital. Following that Omicron variant was identified at the close of last year, it was obvious that two doses of Covid-19 vaccine weren’t enough to provide protection. It was time to act swiftly.
The idea of getting millions of Brits uplifted within a matter of weeks would require a tremendous effort, but the Army, Navy and RAF veterans – as well as their reservist friends did their best.
“Across the UK they helped their communities by serving as first responders, vaccinators and as volunteers during the Christmas season”, says Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. “This shows that their love of service will not cease even if they’re no more in uniform. I am thankful to all the veterans for their service.’
Here are a few of the veteran’s stories:
‘THAT SENSE OF SERVICE NEVER LEAVES YOU’
After witnessing the desperate situation of patients suffering from Covid-19 when she volunteered with Nightingale Hospitals during the initial outbreak of the disease, former Army Major Sally Orange was determined to take part in the effort to fight the virus.
“I have been exposed to the devastating effects this virus has caused to numerous individuals in a variety of ways, whether it was sadness, loneliness, or isolation”, she adds. I have also observed a number of patients, old and young that have been affected by the symptoms of Covid.’
Salisbury is a city in the UK. Sally was employed for 22 years working as an physiotherapist with the Royal Army Medical Corps, making her a great candidate to aid in the roll-out of boosters.
After finishing her training, the 48-year old volunteers when she has free time. Often, she is providing vaccinations to the public, among other duties.
It’s difficult to quantify the feeling of fulfillment that volunteering can bring the person,”says Sally who has raised more than Ps500,000 to support military charities over the years, running marathons in costumes resembling fruit! All over the world.
As a veteran, I believe that we all have that spirit of service that never ceases to be there even if you’ve no longer served.
Knowing that there was a huge nationwide effort to fight the spread of the virus via the vaccination rollout I was not hesitant to join in.
“My previous job has definitely helped me fit into a diverse, different team easily as well as being patient and sensitive to other peoples’s demands.’
‘EXPERIENCE FIGHTING EBOLA HAS HELPED US’
From helping to amputations victims during the Gulf War to taking care of wounded Kurdish people in Iraq as well as helping manage fighting Ebola within Sierra Leone, Jake Wade can be counted on to step up when it is needed.
The 56-year-old resident of Hartlepool lived for nearly 100 years as a renowned medical assistant within the Royal Navy, before joining the Royal Army Medical Corps to assist in the field of mental health for an additional eight years.
The doctor joined the NHS within Hartlepool in the year 2019 and was responsible for the distribution and control of PPE.
“My knowledge of logistics gained from working overseas in The Royal Marines, came to the forefront and he was able “to ensure that health professionals had the PPE they required.
“In some instances it was my job to be taking a trip and making the deliveries on my own inside the van. There wasn’t anyone to assist me.’
It’s this ability to take on whatever is required and to do it with the utmost determination, which he gained while serving within the Armed Forces, that helped in the establishment of the Regional Vaccination Operations Cell in the East Midlands.
There are similar thoughts that go through the mind with the thought process,’ he says. “Most of my team are former military personnel.
“A week or two before the start of the vaccination programme we could determine the direction it might be based on my experiences of the Ebola outbreak.
“So I contacted one of my buddies to be responsible for the removal from Ebola from Sierra Leone, training people. Veterans are committed to their communities in any circumstance no matter how challenging or simple. They are taught to do so.’
‘WE’VE HELPED SAVE LIVES’
Since joining in September of 2020, Mike Quaile has helped to set up over 80 vaccine centers which include in Stadium MK in Milton Keynes.
The 62-year-old served for 40 years with the Army as a lieutenant-colonel with the Royal Artillery before leaving in 2014 and joining Help for Heroes, coaching and helping wounded soldiers.
In the last 15 months, the man has worked as an Estate and Logistics Lead in the East of England aiding in setting jab centers and hospital resupply facilities.
His experiences in building schools, digging the wells of Bosnia and supplying troops in Afghanistan all assisted.
“We had to sort the wheat from the chaff , and determine what was important and also reduce the noise from all the other things according to the father of three from Salisbury.
“That’s what veterans bring to the table – focus on their work with a sense of calmness and faith that the team will succeed.
“It was important to me to take action on the problem of the virus. This was one of the ways I could help.
“Now I feel like I’ve been a part of the millions of vaccinations that keep people out of hospitals and saved lives of people.
“When my grandchildren ask me”What were you doing during the outbreak? If I’m asked, I’ll be able say “I was part of the battle against that virus.’
‘YOU FEEL A REAL SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT’
When Covid struck the trombonist James Case found himself practically redundant.
The senior aircraftman was usually as a member of the Band of the RAF College however all performances and parades were cancelled.
When he was called to travel to Glasgow He was thrilled to help by providing vaccinations to local residents across the area at libraries town halls, town halls, centers for leisure and the city’s Central Mosque.
“We received some hands-on training by an NHS professional, and we had to study hours of online learning also,’ adds James.
“We watched nurses and doctors who were vaccinating patients, and then we performed our first.
“It was okay – the training was excellent and I understood the process even knowing it was something that I’d never tried before.
“We’ve been well-received by the general public, and you’re left with a feeling of accomplishment.’
‘I CAN SEE THAT VACCINATION WORKS’
Veteran of the army Nigel Jones, who volunteered at a pop-up vaccination clinic in Hereford and has witnessed in person how effective jabs can be.
A former Royal Signals corporal, from close to Abergavenny in Wales was hired by the Ambulance Service in 2014, and has seen a lot lesser coronavirus cases.
People are still showing up with signs, however they’re not far from the severity of the first round, and that’s due to the vaccines that the 57-year old says. I don’t know the scientific basis of the vaccine, but it appears to be effective.’
‘THEY CELEBRATED WHEN THEY SAW US’
Danielle Harper-Dixon and her coworkers arrived to begin immunizing the people of Lincoln the crowds of people waiting to be immunized were awed.
GET BOOSTED NOW
If you’re not yet having your booster, or you’re still waiting to get your second or first vaccination It’s vital to book it as soon as possible. Every adult living in the UK must now get the booster to protect themselves from Omicron. Omicron variant. Additionally, it can aid in preventing you from developing serious illness with Covid-19 over the long time.
Ages 16 or over can apply for the booster 3 months following their second Covid-19 vaccination.
You can make an appointment with the pharmacy or a vaccination center on the internet, or visit the walk-in center without having to book.
“We had an incredible moment when we arrived as a 35-year-old lieutenant in the RAF. We were all dressed in uniform and the volunteers as well as people who were waiting for their vaccinations received a round of applause. It was quite surprising as well as made us feel happy and proud.
“People are thrilled to have it as we approach Christmas, it was a sign that many were excited about the prospect of seeing loved relatives.’
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