Written by Michele Tuttle 
Having worked from home since the beginning of the pandemic I felt I wanted to get out there and do something to help. When I was asked if I’d like to train to be a vaccinator I have to confess to being a little concerned as I’m not a fan of needles! 
 
I completed several hours of online training before completing my practical training with a Clinical Trainer and then I was up and running and was surprised that I wasn’t even nervous delivering my first jab. 
 
NATH release me one day per week and I generally pick up a weekend shift. Like so many people the isolation of the pandemic had an impact on my mental health but I felt that improved after my first shift. I’m so grateful to NATH for supporting me to do this work. 

130 vaccinations in a 6 hour shift 

I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve vaccinated but have done as many as 130 in a 6 hour shift and I’ve done a lot of shifts! The role isn’t just about vaccinating people, it’s also about putting them at ease when they’re nervous, offering kind words and, more often than not, making them smile or laugh. Because everyone has been assessed by a clinician before coming to receive their jab from me I focus my conversation around something light-hearted and deliver the vaccine whilst we’re deep in some random conversation. 
 
The majority of people haven’t even felt the needle go in and have asked if they can book me for their second. This isn’t something that I can do but I have seen a few for their second jabs and their reaction has been lovely. 

Getting vaccinated can be an emotional experience 

In the early days when we were vaccinating more elderly members of the population we saw a lot of emotion. People were overwhelmed after shielding for so long and coming into the huge vaccination centre was scary for so many of them. I met people who’ve lost loved ones to Covid and have been truly affected by their stories. I’ve seen people in their 70s who haven’t had a vaccination for over 50 years but they know how important it is to have this one so life can return to normal. After a positive experience with me I’ve encouraged them to take up their Flu vaccination when next invited! 

Collaborative working at its very best 

Working for the Mass Vaccination Team I’ve met some amazing people. It’s truly collaborative working at its very best. I’m working with NHS staff, fire-fighters, local authority staff, cabin crew and St John’s Ambulance volunteers amongst many others. We have lots of amazing volunteers who come along and offer their help and support. 
 
I’m employed onto the Sherwood Forest Hospitals Bank and book shifts to suit myself. I enjoy it so much I even pick up shifts on my non-working days sometimes. 

Our amazing NHS 

This is something I will always feel proud of. Every one of us working towards vaccinating the population is part of history. The vaccination programme shows everyone just how amazing our NHS is. 
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