Covid booster: Plea for more volunteers at jab clinic

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Image caption,
Volunteers have been helping people get checked in for their booster jab in Peterborough

A thousand more people a day could get a Covid jab at a clinic if more volunteers came forward to help, a pharmacist said.

Shabbir Damani, from Peterborough, said the issue was because of the "insufficient support of volunteers".

He said it was "heart-breaking" that the clinic at his pharmacy had had to limit its size because of a lack of "manpower".

Dawn Smith, a volunteer, said: "We need everyone to come forward to help."

Booster jabs are now being offered to all adults over the age of 18.

Image caption,
Shabbir Damani, from Peterborough, said volunteers were needed to help deliver the vaccination - in administration and support roles

The Halls Vaccination Centre, based at the pharmacy in Orton Wistow, is a private chemist that has set up a vaccination centre to provide up to 1,500 jabs a day.

Mr Damani, community pharmacist, said it needed the equivalent of 19 full-time volunteers a day to run at full capacity. At the moment it can only jab about 500 people.

"When we don't have enough team members we have to limit the size of the clinics," he said.

"Our understanding is that we're in this pandemic together, we can do it together, but we need the help and support.

"It's heart-breaking, as we have a facility. We're having to turn people away as we haven't got the manpower."

Image caption,
Dawn Smith runs a pub and also volunteers

Ms Smith, a Peterborough volunteer, said: "We lost so many people, hairdressers, publicans, and they have all had to go back to work, so now we're on the bare minimum of volunteers.

"We need everyone to come forward to help."

Image caption,
Clive Emmett, from CVSU in Essex, said he had been asked to find extra volunteers but did not know where they were going to come from

Clive Emmett, chief executive of the Council for Voluntary Service Uttlesford (CVSU), said it was going to be a "challenge" for the charity to find extra volunteers in Saffron Walden in Essex for an additional Sunday session.

"We have a core of volunteers that have been volunteering on a Saturday on a regular basis for a long time now, but people are getting tired and have other things they want to do," he said.

"We would really like more volunteers to come forward, if you have time, we really would appreciate your help."

Volunteers can apply to help at vaccination centres via the NHS website.

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