I had a chat with a Covid-19 Vaccinator... 

Recently I met Vanessa*, who lives locally in Hampton. Vanessa is a Pandemic Immuniser (Covid vaccination giver), and I was interested to hear all about it, as I imagine it is a very busy role right now.


Previously a Personal Assistant, then a mum to her two - now teenage – children; Vanessa found herself thinking about a job outside the home. "It was the beginning of the second wave of Covid infections (November 2020), lockdowns were looming over us again, inevitably more loss of life was predicted and just on the horizon a vaccination programme was about to be rolled out." Vanessa remarked, "I knew I wanted to be part of it, to contribute in some way in fighting against this virus.".


Vanessa now works for the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme, and I asked her how she got her job, she said, "I saw an advert online on a job search site. The application was straightforward but slow, due to the high volume of applications the NHS had to process. I applied in November 2020 and started in March 2021. I now work at various Vaccination Centre's across South-West London.".


I asked Vanessa about qualifications and training, and she stated that "No previous clinical experience was required, but I did have to undertake various on-line and practical training. The injection technique involved practicing on oranges - which are a similar texture to an arm, and dummy arms. Obviously, first aid training is a must. I had to observe numerous injections before being able to do my first. I remember this day clearly - it was nerve-racking! I had to act totally relaxed in front of the patient, but I have now completed thousands of injections, so I'm quite at ease with it.".


The job is also very flexible as Vanessa can book as little, or indeed, as many shifts as she can fit into her busy life. "It's the most flexible job I've ever had!". 


I pondered what happened when someone was very scared, and Vanessa said, "It depends on the individual. Some of them might be scared of the actual injection - they might have a needle phobia; some of them are worried about the possible side-effects or things that they heard from other sources. I always listen to them and their worries, I never rush people - unless they request it to be done quickly! Distraction is definitely a good tactic. Have you ever wondered why your vaccinator will ask you about your day, your job or your dinner?".


Finally, I wanted to know if Vanessa found her new job rewarding, and she said, "Yes, I work with so many people from so many different industries; those with a medical background, medical students, aviation and hospitality staff to name but a few. And there are so many volunteers coming together for the same cause. I find it so rewarding when I can make the process as stress-free as possible.".


The vaccine has saved many lives in the UK, and around the world, and Vanessa finishes by saying "I can't wait to see how much progress is made in the next few years to combat this virus.".


(* name changed to prevent identity)