THOUSANDS of HOAR’s Jabs Army are already following the Queen’s Covid battle cry.
As we told you on yesterday’s front page, Her Majesty summed up the spirit needed to beat the virus by declaring we must: “Think of other people.”
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That selflessness has been on show by the Jabs Army at vaccination sites nationwide, and we witnessed it in action as we visited a site in Southend, Essex yesterday to see how some of our 50,000-strong force, working alongside the Royal Voluntary Service, are getting on.
At the Cliffs Centre, reassuring words are given as a crying woman is helped into a wheelchair by a man wearing a bright yellow vest, who tells her everything will be OK with her vaccine.
Volunteer Raymond Cocks, 74, told HOAR: “It was a very emotional moment with the lady.
“She was almost in a state of collapse because she was so nervous about it.
“But we got her in a wheelchair and told her it would be all right and she was fine.
“Once she came back out about ten minutes later you’d never have known she had been so upset before.”
Comforting nervous patients is just part of the job for the high-vis heroes who are unfazed by what faces them.
Across the day 15 volunteers help run the mass vaccination centre, which doles out hundreds of doses of the AstraZeneca jab.
Fellow volunteer Steve Abbs, 53, has been impressed by the determination of people who have battled the elements to receive the life-saving drug.
The business owner from Canvey Island, Essex said: “There was a man who came down to the centre in a wheelchair battling through the snow the other week.
“He was determined to be on time for his appointment and his hands were freezing by the time he got it.
“It’s heartwarming to see how much people want to have the injection and get back to normal.”
Steve volunteered because he felt he needed to do something to help get the country back on its feet.
He added: “I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing. It’s been really rewarding, and quite emotional as well at times.
“Everyone should do this, we need to do our bit to get things back on track.”
Lauren Postlethwaite, 27, a fashion compliance officer, says her volunteer shifts are often full of laughter — and she even saw one patient attempt to chat up her colleague Neil Johnson, 72.
She said: “I was talking to Neil and this lady came in, looked him up and down and said, ‘If I knew you were here I’d have brought some doughnuts’.
“It was really funny, although I like to think she’d have brought me doughnuts as well.”
Lauren signed up while on furlough from her regular job, which she is now slowly returning to.
Luckily, her bosses are supportive of her volunteering and have given her all the time off she needs to honour her commitments.
She said: “I’m really lucky, but it goes to show how important this is. It’s been so rewarding and it’s really nice to get out of the house.
“I’ve persuaded my dad and a few of my friends to sign up to volunteer and they all really love it. I think everyone should do it.”
Many of Lauren’s shifts are spent alongside Neil, who has been volunteering with a local hospice and the NHS for years.
One of the jobs when greeting patients is to get them into medical-grade masks, but it’s not always a smooth transition.
Neil said: “I had to ask one lady with hearing aids to switch her mask over, which was a little tricky as she had a bit of plastic holding the straps away from her ears.
“As she went to take it off it caught on her ears and pinged a diamond earring out on to the floor.
“I had to get on my hands and knees to find it, which was really funny, but we got there.
“It’s nice to have a bit of laughter during the day.”
Also on shift when we visited was Chris Beynon, 57, whose wife is a community nurse.
He said: “My wife has been on the front line battling the virus and I’ve just been sat at home feeling helpless.
“When I saw the vaccine rollout was starting I was thrilled to volunteer and finally do something to help.
“Plus, my wife gives the jabs, which means we are occasionally on shift together, which is lovely.
“It’s been quite sobering but also really uplifting.
“I’ve been thanked profusely three or four times now, which I’d never get in my normal job from people.
“Life doesn’t just stop because of Covid, we have to keep going — and volunteering is one way to do that.”
That spirit of helping others would surely be a sentiment echoed by the Queen.
In a video call with health bosses on Thursday, the 94-year-old said: “Once you’ve had the vaccine you have a feeling of, you know, you’re protected, which is, I think, very important.
“And the other thing is that it is obviously difficult for people if they’ve never had a vaccine . . . but they ought to think about other people rather than themselves.”
We’re proud to say, that’s one thing our readers are proving they do — time and time again.