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  1. Published on: 31/05/2021 08:47 AMReported by: rogerblaxall
    Inspirational volunteers across West Lancashire are being praised for their invaluable contribution to the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

    The North West Vaccine Heroes campaign launched this week, celebrating the role of all staff and volunteers who have given their time to assist in the NHS’s largest vaccination drive in history.

    Over one million people across the Lancashire and South Cumbria region have received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; in West Lancashire, the latest figures show over 70,000 have received a first jab.

    Vaccination is taking place at four sites across West Lancashire. There are GP-led vaccination sites at Birleywood Health Centre (Skelmersdale), The Old People’s Club (Burscough) and Hants Lane Clinic (Ormskirk), as well as a pharmacy-led site at Edge Hill University.

    Volunteers have been a central part of the programme, giving up thousands of hours of their own time collectively to assist GPs and practice staff to get people a life-saving COVID-19 jab.

    In Ormskirk clinical lead for the Hants Lane Clinic site, Dr Darran Harris, welcomed a group of volunteers for a socially-distanced lunch last Tuesday (18 May) as a mark of thanks and appreciation for their efforts so far.

    The clinic has administered over 28,000 doses so far, aided by volunteers who have helped with a range of tasks to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the site.

    Dr. Harris, also a local GP at Aughton Surgery, said: “Put simply, we would not have been able to run these clinics without our committed team of volunteers and I know this is the same for the other sites across West Lancashire, whether it be working on the operational running of the site or providing a friendly welcome for elderly patients who weren’t otherwise able to leave home due to shielding in the earlier days of the programme.

    “I cannot thank them enough for their continued help and support of the vaccination programme in West Lancashire. Their tireless, unstinting work has ensured people in our area are protected against COVID-19 and there is no doubt this will have contributed to save lives.

    “I would also like to thank all practice staff, vaccinators and the public for their ongoing support of the programme. Please book a jab as soon as you are eligible to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19.”

    Jane Dunn, a volunteer at Ormskirk and retired former NHS worker, has contributed over 300 hours of her own time to help with the running at Hants Lane.

    Jane said: “It’s about contributing and giving something back, and the team here are like a big family of volunteers. It’s been a pleasure to meet everyone who has been vaccinated here and see lots of smiling faces as people leave having received their jab.”

    The theme of dedicated volunteers has been consistent across West Lancashire. At the Old People’s Club in Burscough the 29th Ormskirk Scout Group, led by Brian Smith, have been instrumental in the COVID-19 rollout for residents in the Northern Parishes, providing logistical and on-the-ground support.

    This included the generous donation of a marquee, which has proved vital in keeping those waiting dry during inclement weather.

    Dr. Bapi Biswas, clinical lead for the Northern Parishes vaccination site, said: “We are indebted to Brian, the scouts and the rest of our incredible volunteers. It has been the epitome of community spirit, going above and beyond to ensure the people of Tarleton, Burscough and Parbold receive their vaccinations.

    “We have been incredibly humbled by the support from nurses and doctors who came back to help the NHS when we needed it and helped the local practices carry on providing near normal levels of access.”

    The North West ‘Vaccine Heroes’ campaign launched this week, celebrating the incredible contribution from local communities across the region. The stories of people involved in the vaccination programme from every part of the North West will feature on social media over the coming days with the hashtag #NWVaccineHeroes. The campaign runs alongside Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June).

    People who are eligible can book their vaccination slot at one of the other sites in Lancashire and South Cumbria online via the national booking service. Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

    Visit the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership website for more information on volunteering and how to sign up.

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