Call to arms for vaccination marshalls in Burnley
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Kathleen Birtwistle, the wife of former Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, is the recruiting sergeant for the effort which aims to bolster the 40 strong army of volunteers currently signed up as marshalls to help at the St Peter's Centre, Burnley's designated Covid vaccination centre.
Fire service personnel, who had previously been serving as marshalls, have now been deployed elsewhere, leaving a gap which health chiefs hope can be filled by members of the public in Burnley.
The aim is to do 360 vaccinations per day on days when the centre is open which will vary depending on supply.
Kathleen said: "I wanted to do something to help with the vaccination process as I was shielding for a long time last year, and so I contacted my GP at Thursby Surgery, Dr Yasmina Naheed, who is one of the clinical leads for vaccinations in Burnley.
"She told me about the need for volunteers since the fire personnel were delpoyed elsewhere. We've managed to recruit 40 people so far but we need more volunteers as we ramp up the vaccinations.
"We've had a First World War recruiting style poster designed which we hope will help. We have to treat this as you would a war as the more residents, especially vulnerable ones, we can get vaccinated quickly the better."
Marshalls have a number of roles at vaccination centres including meeting people outside the centre, guiding them to the correct places, offering hand sanitiser and suitable face masks as well as being a friendly face.
Seven volunteers will be needed on a shift pattern working from 8am to 1pm and from 2pm to 7pm.
Kathleen added: "The people going in for their vaccines currently are elderly, and some of whom have hardly left the house in the last year, so this can be a daunting experience. The marshalls are very important in making them feel comfortable. We want to guide them every step of the way, while having a bit of banter with them and knowing we're doing a vital public service."
For more information on how to volunteer please contact Burnley Pendle and Rossendale Community Voluntary Services by sending an email to [email protected]
You should state in your email that you wish to volunteer with Burnley Jabs Army at St Peter's Centre Burnley. It is important that you state that otherwise you may be assigned to a different group.