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Volunteers across Hull and East Riding praised for their invaluable contribution to the vaccination rollout

HEY Smile Foundation volunteers across Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire are being praised for their invaluable contribution to the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.

Over 380,000 people have been double vaccinated throughout Hull and East Riding and health bosses say that none of this would have been possible without those volunteers who have given up thousands of hours of their own time to assist GPs and practice staff to get people the lifesaving COVID-19 jab.

To date, over 500 vaccine volunteers worked a total of 21,500 hours helping the community to gain protection in 24 sites across Hull and East Riding. Vaccines are still available at both Primary Care Network and Community Pharmacy sites across Hull and East Riding and on the health and wellbeing bus.

Jenny Preston, Programme Manager – Volunteering, Smile said: “It has been a pleasure working with the volunteers on the vaccine response programme, and we’re delighted to be involved.

“What is underestimated is the power of volunteering to the volunteer themselves, and we’ve had some lovely stories of friendships being formed whilst volunteering.”

Speaking about his volunteering experience, Stephen Pardon, from Beverley said: “I’ve not volunteered before but if I’d been asked what volunteering means to me, I would now say making a positive difference however small that difference is.

“I initially wanted to volunteer to be a part of, albeit a very small part, of the vaccination programme, but I have found it so rewarding and have met so many interesting people, that I now volunteer in other ways as well both with Smile and other organisations.”

Emma Latimer, East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Interim Accountable Officer and Hull CCG Accountable Officer said: “Hull and East Riding CCGs would like to extend their appreciation to the SMILE Foundation, and in particular, Jenny Preston, who co-ordinated the whole volunteering programme at extremely short notice. We cannot thank our Smile volunteers enough for their continued help and support of the vaccination programme in Hull and East Riding. We would not have been able to run the programme without our committed team of volunteers, who not only provided a friendly welcome in the earlier days for elderly patients who weren’t otherwise able to leave home due to shielding but went over and above to help reassure people, demonstrate the correct way to fit face masks, how to socially distance, assist in taking temperatures and much more.

“It is really touching to see their willingness and commitment to undertake this. Their tireless, work has ensured that people in our area are protected against COVID-19 and there is no doubt this will have contributed to saving lives.

“I would also like to thank all practice staff, vaccinators and the public for their ongoing support of the programme. If you haven’t already taken up your offer of the vaccine, please book a jab as soon as you can or visit one of the local walk-in vaccination centres to help protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19.”

People can book a vaccination by calling 119 or visiting the National Booking Service. Alternatively, they can pop along to a walk-in centre. Visit Hull CCG’s website or East Riding CCG’s website to find out where and when.

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