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'Giving hope and love'

by Michael Ford last modified 29 Jan, 2021 01:39 PM

How do you transform lives and communities during a pandemic? Well, some have joined the volunteer vaccination programme.

One of our priests has done just that.

The Revd Andrew O’Brien, Vicar of Canford Cliffs and Sandbanks, explains:

"During the first lockdown in March last year, as a church we were involved in coordinating a community response to help those unable to leave their homes. I became a delivery driver dropping off food to those in need. This time round, having heard a plea on the radio for volunteers to help with the roll out of the vaccine, I decided to heed the call and volunteer for the St John’s Ambulance as a volunteer vaccinator - no previous medical knowledge required!

"Having applied, I then had a Zoom interview and having been successful was directed to undergo training via the internet: first with St John Ambulance via their portal and then NHS training modules, learning about and earning certificates in such diverse subjects as Vaccine storage, legal aspects of giving the vaccine as well as knowledge of the vaccines themselves.

"I then underwent a day of training face-to-face at St John Ambulance in Wallisdown Poole from 9.00am until 5.00pm, which involved basic first aid and what to expect at the vaccination centre as well as practising administering jabs on silicon arms. There were a range of different people at the training day, from a young mum to people who had recently retired, none of whom had previous medical experience.

"I have to commit to a minimum of two 8-hour sessions a month, but hope to do more. I have been ordained 33 years and in that time have hopefully been there when people needed me the most and feel this is once again such an opportunity to be there in time of need.

"I feel it is important that we do not retreat behind our closed church doors, but go out into the community and help where we can. Church is about our love and care for others and that is very difficult to express through a computer screen. Hopefully through my volunteering I can give hope and love to those I serve. I will obviously not be wearing a dog collar as that is likely to strike fear into the recipient!"

Andrew, our prayers are with you and all those who are helping to roll out the vaccination programme across our Diocese.

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