Andy Orenstein has been a volunteer at the Hornsey vaccination centre since January 2021. Working at the vaccination centre has been a positive experience for Andy, especially meeting people coming for their vaccination and the staff at the centre.
Why did you decide to volunteer at a vaccination centre?
I had done some voluntary work in a hospital setting a few years ago and, as soon as I heard that the NHS was looking for volunteers to assist at vaccination centres, I knew I wanted to help out. Back in January, the proposed vaccine rollout seemed hugely ambitious, and in the midst of the winter lockdown, I saw it as a great opportunity to actually get out of the house and contribute in an active way.
What does your role involve?
Often, I’m marshalling at the entrance to the vaccination centre, welcoming people as they arrive for their vaccinations and helping to ensure that nobody with coronavirus symptoms enters the building. I’ll also be keeping an eye out for anybody who might need any extra help, such as someone who might find it difficult to stand in a queue. I’ll arrange for their needs to be taken care of and, when necessary, I’ll escalate any issues to a healthcare professional.
What training/preparation did you receive?
Before I started volunteering, I received some written information from North London Partners about what the marshalling role entails and, on my very first day, I was given a local induction by a supervisor to familiarise myself with the site and the procedures there. On an ongoing basis, if there’s anything I’m not sure about, I know I can speak to a member of staff and they’re always very happy to help.
What’s the best thing about volunteering at a vaccination centre?
Without a doubt, the best thing has been meeting people and making new friends. Virtually everyone arriving for their vaccination is thrilled to be there and some people are very chatty, especially when they haven’t been outdoors much because of the lockdown! The staff at the centre are also very friendly and great fun to work with. It’s very satisfying to be part of a team and to know that your contribution really is valued.
Has anything surprised you about your experience?
When I’m marshalling outside, the British weather never fails to surprise me!
What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering at a vaccination centre?
Go for it, you won’t regret it.