Kate writes a bi-weekly column for the Burton Mail. This column was originally featured in the 31st December print edition.
2020 is without doubt a year that we will never forget. The pandemic that is COVID-19 has swept the globe and still continues to wreak havoc with life as we know it. Families have tragically lost loved ones, NHS staff have given their all to care for the sick and save lives, and our keyworkers have worked around the clock to keep the country moving. It has been a year of unbearable heartache for so many, but also a year of heroes across our community.
As we approach 2021 there is real reason to be optimistic. There is light at the end of the tunnel with the rollout of the vaccination programme. On the 16th December I witnessed for myself the very first day of the massive logistical operation underway at the Pirelli Stadium in Burton, which has been set up as a vaccine-delivery centre. I was invited by the Chair of the local Primary Care Network and whilst there I was delighted to be asked to volunteer and spent the afternoon working alongside Burton Albion Community Trust and many other volunteers, supporting the healthcare workers. Currently, the vaccination programme is prioritising the elderly and extremely vulnerable before it is made available more widely to the general public in the coming weeks and months ahead.
Whilst most people were keen to get their jab there were inevitably some people who were nervous. The process I witnessed went very smoothly, with the vaccinations themselves being very quick. Upon arrival names were taken and people directed to one of 6 vaccination bays that had been set up. Health and Safety guidance was followed impeccably with all chairs being sanitised with disinfectant wipes between each person. After receiving the vaccination people were given a card with details of their vaccination and advised that they would be called for their second jab in three weeks’ time. They were then directed to the tea and coffee being provided and asked to wait for 15 minutes to ensure that they had no adverse reaction.
It was fantastic to see the rolling out of the vaccination programme taking shape locally here in Burton. This has been a difficult year for everyone, and you could sense the feeling of relief and optimism as people left to go home with the hope of normal life returning in the not too distant future. Each vaccine that is delivered gives us hope that better times really are ahead.