WORRIED faces and shaky hands are a common sight for The Sun’s Jabs Army heroes as they usher in queues of people for life-saving injections.
By the time visitors leave, the fear and anxiety has gone, thanks to the NHS staff and dedicated volunteers putting them at ease.
News anchor Kay Burley, before she starts her volunteer shift as part of The Sun’s Jabs ArmyCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Sky News host Kay Burley with other volunteers and staff ensuring everyone gets their jabCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
But before the big moment, one of the first faces they see at one North London vaccination centre is Sky News host Kay Burley, ready with a reassuring smile, usually while taking control in the car park.
She is there as visitors invited for their Covid jab drive into Tithe Farm Social Club in Harrow, North London — because she spends two days a week helping out at the centre.
The 60-year-old broadcaster says she has found her volunteer shifts uplifting, and was even told by one elderly woman that she “looks very much like Kay Burley”.
The work is something she finds “very reassuring” herself.
Kay, who was suspended by Sky News for breaking Covid restrictions on her birthday in December, said: “I often do the late shift marshalling the car park. I’m very used to being out in the cold for hours on end thanks to being a reporter, and I’ve been really enjoying it.
Kay, who was suspended by Sky News for breaking Covid restrictions on her birthday in December, says she found volunteering ‘uplifting’Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Kay chats with other volunteers at the centreCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
“I was asked by my doctor if I wanted to come along to help. So here I am. It’s such a slick operation.
“Often when people arrive they are quite nervous, and it’s my job to help them feel at ease.”
Kay has thrown her weight behind The Sun’s Jabs Army after experiencing first-hand how rewarding volunteering is, and she welcomes the efforts made by her fellow marshals to keep everyone safe.
Joining her on shift is Archana Kanade, who keeps an eye on people after they get their Pfizer jab.
Archana said: “I wanted to help in any way I could. A lot of people are anxious when they come in but I want them to know they shouldn’t be.
“I’ve seen a few people who are shivering because they are so worried about getting it. We’ve waited a long time for this vaccine and now it’s finally here we need to make use of it and get the benefit.
“Speaking to the patients really helps. I let them know we do more than 700 people a day and they start to feel better, and they’re fine.
“They’re normally very relaxed by the time they leave after their jab.”
‘I know it’s safe’
The centre vaccinates around 720 people a day and needs 16 volunteers to make sure everything runs smoothly, from parking to booking the next appointment.
But they could be giving out more doses if larger quantities were made available. The other problem is getting people from ethnic minorities to take up their appointment, as many are refusing.
One of the first faces patients see at one North London vaccination centre is Sky News host Kay Burley, ready with a reassuring smileCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Kay playing her part to help the UK’s hugely successful vaccine roll outCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Talking to Kay, Dr Michael Abu, a local GP who helps administer the vaccine, said: “Many are hesitant because we needed to get the vaccine out quickly to people — but we didn’t cut any corners. They also have religious and cultural reasons, which makes it hard to get them to agree. We try to persuade them to have it and do everything we can to show them it’s safe. I’ve had my vaccine, I know it’s safe.”
Fellow medic Dr Hannah Bundock said: “I got my vaccine on my birthday. It was the best present I could have hoped for.”
The social club has eight stations for people to get their shots, and on Thursday, the Pfizer vaccine was being injected.
Restaurant owner Shahanoor Khan, 61, who was there to get his jab, said: “I was so worried on my way here.
HOW TO REGISTER
TO register interest, visit nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/nextinline.
You will be contacted as soon as a suitable volunteer role becomes available in your area.
Other roles available may include Patient Transport, Community Response (shopping and medicine delivery), NHS Transport, Check in and Chat.
“But as soon as I got here, I felt so comforted and safe. People will always worry but a little temperature is nothing to be bothered about. I’ve had mine and I am fine.”
Edward Stone, 88, got his second dose of the vaccine and was thrilled to finally have full immunity. He said: “I’m really glad I had it.”
Electrician Martin Summerville, 61, added: “It’s really professionally done. There’s nothing to worry about.” School worker Susan Lugton, 59, volunteered after being left with little work when classrooms shut.
She said: “There’s such a community spirit and everyone is pulling together. A large part of the job is making sure people getting the vaccine feel safe and secure, which mainly means talking to people, which is lovely.
“I think everyone should sign up to help out and be part of the community, and that’s also why they should get the vaccine. It’s not just about protecting yourself — it’s about protecting everyone else.”
Kay Burley, volunteering at the Tithe Farm Social club vaccination centre in Harrow, chats to doctorsCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
The 60-year-old broadcaster says she was even told by one elderly woman that she ‘looks very much like Kay Burley’Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
The NHS drive is being supported with huge amounts of food being sent in to make sure staff and volunteers don’t go hungry, including from local restaurants and bakeries.
Kay said: “There’s really only so much time you can sit at home doing jigsaw puzzles, so volunteering is a great way to keep busy.
“And let’s all make sure we have our vaccinations. Then we can get back to some sort of normality.”
Call to arms – how MPs, celebs and big businesses backed our campaign
A HOST of celebs and politicians threw their weight behind Jabs Army as they praised kind-hearted Sun readers who signed up.
Their calls were led by Boris Johnson, who begged for volunteers to help ‘return the country to normal life’.
The PM wrote personally to our readers, saying: “The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is a brilliant example of the power of collective action.
“It has already inspired companies and workplaces up and down the country to join the call to arms.
“So today, I call on everyone who has the time to join the legions of volunteers already signed up and to boost volunteer numbers further still.”
Jeremy Clarkson urged Brits to get off the sofa and sign up to beat the lockdown blues.
He said: “Everyone is saying how bored they are. They’ve watched Netflix, gone through everything on the internet, read Google.
“Well let’s not be bored — let’s get off our bottoms and volunteer.”
His call was backed by a string of other celebs – including the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, who hailed our campaign as “fantastic”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock saluted Jabs Army as he addressed the nation in a No10 press briefing.
He said: “Come and be a part of it. The Sun’s Jabs Army is marching and helping the nation.”
GMB host Piers Morgan branded the campaign as “excellent”.
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