BOXING’S Olympic golden girl Nicola Adams has weighed in to the fight to persuade EVERYONE to have a Covid jab.
Yesterday the retired world-class fighter joined in with volunteers from The Sun’s Jabs Army of helpers at a vaccination hub near her home in Leeds.
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And after a report found that ethnic minority adults were up to 20 per cent less likely to accept the jab than white people, Nicola, 38, said: “I would definitely say that everyone should get the vaccine when they are offered, especially if you’re in the high-risk category.
“There’s nothing to worry about. It’s a standard jab, it’s no different to any other jab you’ve had.
“It’s important to listen to the Government’s advice and get the vaccine.”
The report, highlighted by the Government’s science advisory group Sage, found that black or black British groups were most likely to hesitate about the jab, with 72 per cent saying they would be unlikely or very unlikely to get vaccinated.
This week celebrities including comedian Romesh Ranganathan and actress Meera Syal launched a five-minute video to urge ethnic minorities to have the Covid jab when offered.
Yesterday Nicola, who had to pull out of last year’s Strictly Come Dancing when her pro partner Katya Jones tested positive for coronavirus, pitched in with 17 Jabs Army volunteers at Woodhouse Medical Practice in Leeds.
Dr Mohammed Sattar, a GP at the practice, said: “The hesitancy by some people from certain communities to come forward has been a real worry for us, especially here in such a diverse community.
“If you have trusted people in the community getting out the message, that’s just as important as the message itself.
“The volunteers are also important in this because they can see what’s happening on the ground then can go back into their communities and spread the message.”
And having Nicola to spread that message is a real plus.
Dr Sattar said: “Having a local celebrity here has given us a real boost.
“When we were planning our vaccination programme 12 weeks ago, we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be brilliant to get Nicola Adams to come down’, and here she is.
“We’re so grateful that she has come along to say she’s right behind this so people then come forward for this vital treatment and we can get out of lockdown.”
Nicola also praised every single one of you who has rolled up your sleeves to help fight the pandemic with our Jabs Army.
She said: “Thank you to everybody who signed up, you’re doing an unbelievable job.”
The flyweight ex-fighter, the first ever double gold Olympic female boxer, proved a heavyweight when it came to directing patients yesterday.
Nicola, who lives with her girlfriend, model Ella Baig, 22, said: “I wanted to come to hopefully encourage more people to get the vaccine and see how everything’s set up, how the volunteers are doing and the good work that everyone’s putting in to hopefully get back to normal.
“All the volunteers are doing such a good job and they’re all loving the work they’re doing.
“Everyone’s really enthusiastic and happy to help.”
It was only at the beginning of the month that we launched our drive to support the Royal Voluntary Service in amassing our Jabs Army of helpers.
Just 18 days later, you helped us reach our target of signing up 50,000 people as stewards to assist in rolling out Covid vaccines to the population.
Dr Jason Broch, GP and Clinical Chair at NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning, said: “Volunteers have played a major role throughout the pandemic, not just in Leeds but up and down the country, and it’s inspirational.
“I want to thank every single volunteer for your time and effort — you have played a key role in the delivery of the vaccination programme.”
At the Leeds surgery yesterday more than 360 people were given their jab, while the previous day it was a record-breaking 800-plus. With every injection comes the hope that those patients can finally see their loved ones again.
Joyce Latto, 92, who was being helped from her wheelchair into a waiting taxi after her jab by volunteer Emma Bullock, told us: “I feel all right, it was a great experience.”
Emma, 46, a stay-at-home mum of two, said: “On Thursday we had a lot of vulnerable people who had been shielding.
“One man hadn’t been out for 12 months. He was very talkative!”
Emma was delighted to meet Nicola, and couldn’t wait to talk to her about Strictly.
She said: “I had to get a selfie for my daughter Freya, who is ten and is obsessed with Strictly.”
Practice manager Chris Spargo said: “Our volunteers are greeting people at the front desk, showing them where to go, helping them into taxis, marshalling the queue to ensure social distancing and making teas and coffees.
“We couldn’t run the service like we have without volunteers.
“Today 60 to 70 per cent of the workforce are volunteers, including two retired GPs who have come in to help give out the vaccines.”
And the volunteers get just as much out of it.
Hayley Collings-wood, 30, who has been furloughed from her job in travel marketing since November, said: “I wanted to get involved.
“We all want to get our lives back on track and I feel quite fortunate to have the opportunity to help.
“To see how grateful everyone is to get their jab has been really nice. It gives you a good feeling to be part of it.”
Bill Phelps, 72, a retired graphic designer, was directing people at the entrance and said: “When we had the snow I was pulling wheelchairs through the slush and gritting the paths.
“Some people walked miles that day to come for their jab.
“I’ve also helped out in the cubicles but I can’t stand the sight of needles so I had to look away each time.
HOW TO REGISTER
TO register interest, visit nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/nextinline.
You will be contacted as soon as a suitable volunteer role becomes available in your area.
Other roles available may include Patient Transport, Community Response (shopping and medicine delivery), NHS Transport, Check in and Chat.
“It’s a great feeling to be part of something almost historic, and quite emotional at times.
“We’ve got the easy job, the people who work in the NHS are here all day, every day, to get everyone vaccinated.”
And Hamish Jamson, 49, a BA pilot, was happy to give his time.
The dad-of-two said: “I’ve been on furlough since March last year, so when I heard the surgery needed volunteers I signed up straight away.
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“We talk about the NHS heroes but a lot of the patients are heroes too.
“Many of them are quite fearful. They haven’t been out for a long time and they’re scared of the virus.
“There have been moments when I’ve been quite choked up.”
SAFETY for our Jab Army volunteers is paramount.
Here we answer your questions about how you will be protected while working as a Steward Volunteer in a vaccine centre:
When I do my voluntary duty will I be safe from catching Covid?
Volunteer and patient safety is the NHS and Royal Voluntary Services’ top priority.
While is no upper age limit for volunteering but being a Steward Volunteer is a frontline role and is not for anyone who is in a medium or high-risk category.
Team leaders will ensure volunteers have the correct equipment to keep them safe at all times and social distancing will be in place throughout volunteer shifts.
There are lots of other volunteering roles available on the website.
Will I be asked to wear PPE?
Yes, the safety of volunteers is extremely important and you will be provided with appropriate PPE at the vaccination centres by your team leader.
Will I come in direct contact with patients?
One of the key jobs of our Steward Volunteers is to make sure people queuing up to receive their jabs are keeping to a safe social distance.
This is also includes yourself, so, where possible you will be two metres away from patients and other volunteers.
What training will I be given?
You will be provided with a comprehensive ‘Getting You Started guide’ to explain everything that is required on site.
As this is a non-clinical role, no specific training is required and once you arrive on site, team leaders will take you through a site introduction and briefing.
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