Oscar Ayrton is a Senior Laboratory Research Scientist in the Crick’s Neural Circuits and Evolution Laboratory. He has been volunteering as a vaccinator, administrative assistant and marshal depending on the week.
Oscar has shared his experience of volunteering at The Francis Crick Institute and why he is thrilled to be involved.
Why did you decide to volunteer at a vaccination centre?
I wanted to do something to help with efforts to protect vulnerable people from Covid, especially in the area local to the Crick. I grew up in Islington and I went to Sixth Form in Camden, so I’m close to being a local lad. Even though I’ve moved out of the area now, I still have close links and it feels good to give something back to the community. A mate of mine’s mum has already been vaccinated in the Crick’s centre and I’m sure at some point I’ll run into someone I know!
What does your role involve?
I’ve done a bit of all the roles open to non-healthcare volunteers. It’s been interesting to see the whole process of the vaccination centre – from booking people in at the door all the way through to vaccinating them. At the start, I was absolutely petrified, but the staff training us are all very helpful and eased me into what is a very different environment from the one I’m used to.
I’ve enjoyed cracking jokes with the patients. For some of them, it’s quite clear from the moment they walk through the door that they’re very nervous, so I try and calm them down by having a laugh with them.
What’s the best thing about volunteering at a vaccination centre?
If someone had told me a year ago I’d be interacting with patients directly, let alone vaccinating them, I’d have laughed, and yet here we are. The Crick has been at the forefront of research into COVID and the vaccination centre is an extension of our important role. I’m thrilled that I can be involved.
What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering at a vaccination centre?
It’s a fantastic opportunity to help in the efforts to combat COVID, protecting the most vulnerable and learn new skills at the same time. There is still plenty to be done and your time would be greatly appreciated.
Would you like to volunteer in a vaccination centre? Find out more on our volunteering page.