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Reflections on the final GP-led vaccine clinics

The beginning of July saw the end of the North Tyneside GP-led Covid vaccination sites. The three sites at The Parks, The Langdale Centre and the Oxford Centre were established to quickly provide the Covid vaccine to the most vulnerable residents in North Tyneside. These have now been replaced by 16 pharmacy-led sites across the borough.

These clinics were supported by VODA volunteers, who provided vital marshalling services to ensure the clinics ran smoothly and provided a positive experience for patients.
Keith Hardy, Core Services Manager said: “The clinics started in December 2020 and since then over 200 volunteers have given around 12,000 hours of their time, it’s an incredible achievement really and I am so proud of all our volunteers who have come from all walks of life, some who are retired, some volunteering while furloughed or fitting it into their work patterns. Many of the volunteers are now supporting the new clinics, their commitment and generosity is unbelievable, and we are so grateful.”

Kevin Dickinson, who alongside fellow volunteer MD (pictured left) has become a bit of a local vaccination centre celeb with his large selection of silly hats, shared his reflection on this end of an era.

“Well we’ve just finished the last clinic at the Oxford Centre. An emotional last day for everyone involved. It’s been a great team effort there and yourselves are included in that. Your (VODA’s) organisation and support has been fantastic and you have always been there when volunteers have needed you.

“Maria, Gill and the other admin staff have kept us going with coffee and biscuits and cakes at times. Jack has done a great job overseeing the whole show and being available whenever there was a query. Barbra and her team of vaccinators have been really efficient and helped us out when it’s been busy.

“There really has been a great team spirit with everyone pulling together with one goal to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as safely as possible. I am proud to have been part of the team.

“We think we were the most friendliest and efficient vaccination centre in the world!”

Our Community Health Champion Alice sums up how we feel about the contribution of the volunteers:

“To each and every one of the team members involved in the North Tyneside vaccination centre, I feel pretty emotional writing this message so can’t imagine how you will all feel knowing that the last clinic is done. I have the utmost respect, admiration and gratitude for all of you and all the volunteers involved. We know it’s been far from easy and that you have worked your absolute socks off to make sure as many people have been vaccinated in a safe and welcoming environment. You are ALL part of history and I hope you are bursting with pride at what you have achieved. Thank you so, SO much!”

Alice, North Tyneside Community Health Champion.

Feedback from our volunteers

Our volunteers shared feedback on their experiences of working at the three sites. Here is just a small selection of what they had to say.

“I have been volunteering at the vaccination clinics since they were first set up in December and it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved. Well done to all the site managers who have all been so welcoming and supportive throughout these past few months”. Justine

“Absolute privilege to work with such an amazing team…loved every minute…many thanks for your help and support throughout.” Judith

“Thank you so much for welcoming and supporting me as a volunteer at the vaccination clinics. I have really enjoyed the work and have been so impressed at how organised all the clinics have been. It’s been a great experience, thank you!” Rebecca

“Huge congratulations on a job superbly done, not only have you had your normal job, but you have been called, to design, manage, and lead an emergency programme to vaccinate residents in North Tyneside. Thank you for your endless energy and commitment, it has been a job well done.” Chris

How to keep a volunteer happy

The teams at the GP sites learned very quickly that the best way to keep volunteers happy was through their stomachs!

“I will be back for the cake!”

“…always felt looked after with coffee cakes and biscuits etc.”

“…your patience, support, good humour and, of course, the endless supplies of chocolatey goodies to fuel our shifts.”

“You provided us with the best break time treats ever!! Great motivation!!”