'Still work to do' - Vaccine volunteers prepare for final push

Volunteer Peter Colley at the Fakenham Medical Practice's vaccine centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Volunteer Peter Colley at the Fakenham Medical Practice's vaccine centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A team of volunteers who have helped Fakenham’s vaccine effort is doing all it can to make sure clinics are on this winter after being hit by staff shortages.

The team has been working around the clock for the last couple of years and is currently in the midst of the booster program as protection against the Omicron variant of the virus.

It has been putting on additional services in the week leading up to Christmas, including two in the last two weeks at short notice.

Wendy Fenwick, the vaccine coordinator at Fakenham Medical Practice, said despite the difficulty of the last two years, the team is prepared to do all it can to help.

Wendy Fenwick, vaccine coordinator for Fakenham Medical Practice. 

Wendy Fenwick, the vaccine coordinator at Fakenham Medical Practice, said despite the difficulty of the last two years, the team are prepared to do all they can to help. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

“Despite staff shortages and being very tired after a long couple of years, the staff are stepping up to resource the additional clinics for the booster programme,” she said.

“The volunteers are a large part of our booster programme team and are all making time for the additional clinics and are up for the challenge ahead.

“This is what we do and we don’t want our patients to have to travel many, many miles for their vaccinations.

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“It’s been a long and sometimes difficult journey but we recognise we still have work to do.”

Volunteers alongside Mayor for Fakenham, Gilly Foortse, at the tree planting ceremony at the surgery. 

Vaccine volunteers at Fakenham Medical Practice have been honoured for their work this year, including winning the Fakenham mayor’s community award and having a tree planted in recognition of their efforts. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

The team has been honoured for its work this year, including winning the Fakenham mayor’s community award and having a tree planted in recognition of its efforts.

However, it will not be able to meet the prime minister’s deadline of December 31 to offer all adults a Covid booster jab, due to staffing levels. There are other options for the primary care network with the clinics at Kelling and Wells.

Mrs Fenwick has pleaded with people to make sure they turn up to their booked booster: “The most important thing is for patients to turn up for their booked vaccination appointments, please.

“Also, if anyone would like to volunteer to help then please leave your name with reception - we are always looking for new volunteers.”

Currently, the team's last clinic is planned for January 8, after which it will reassess if the situation changes.

Patients queue for the jab at the Fakenham Medical Practice's vaccine centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Patients queue for the jab at the Fakenham Medical Practice's vaccine centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021