An aspiring paramedic has joined the fight against Covid-19 by volunteering to vaccinate thousands of people at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol.
18-year-old Lauren Toms, from Pill, has been studying on the Health and Social Care Level 3 at City of Bristol College since September 2020 after receiving good recommendations from the teachers.
She will now be using her skills she has learnt in the health profession to administer the vaccine that has already been supplied to more than 15 million people around the country.
Lauren said she volunteered because she ‘wanted to help the community even more’.
“I volunteered to give the vaccine as I wanted to develop my first aid skills further. The training was exciting, I had to do both online and face-to-face training.”Lauren Toms, Level 3 Health and Social Care
The online training involved numerous exams and studies in topics such as immunology and the different types of vaccine which are delivered. The face-to-face training took Lauren eight hours to complete and featured IPC and emergency first aid, alongside the training to deliver the vaccine.
Lauren is set to have her first volunteer shift in the middle of February and she will be based mainly at Ashton Gate, but could potentially be travelling to other vaccination sites if needed.
Lauren said: “I will be the one delivering vaccines so my day-to-day shift would be me delivering the dose, ensuring all paperwork is correct for the client and cleaning my area in-line with the IPC regulations. My shifts would be roughly six to seven hours long at a time.
“It feels amazing to be a part of the mass vaccination efforts as I feel a real sense of pride for both me and my colleagues. We are first aiders for a reason and that is to help the community and that is what we are going to be doing.”
“This is a win/win/win hat-trick for the college. A win for our student Lauren, a win for the local community and a win for our fight against Covid!”City of Bristol College’s Principal and Chief Executive, Andy Forbes
Lauren, like many other students, started her time at City of Bristol College with blended learning both in the classroom and online when the college was open in September. Following the January lockdown announcement, Lauren and her classmates have once again been learning entirely online.
Lauren added: “Learning through lockdown has been troubling, I get distracted easily so when I am in online lessons I have to clear the area around me for anything which could be a distraction in order for me to focus properly.
“The college, however, has supported me amazingly throughout these unprecedented times. They have adapted well to teaching online and helping myself and fellow students out in the best way they can.”
In Bristol, Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca and Moderna are administered and have been prioritising groups 1-4 in the government’s vaccination strategy.
Vaccination sites across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire ae currently inviting people aged 70 and over, patient-facing health and social care staff and care home staff and residents.
Sites include Southmead Hospital, Bristol Royal Infirmary and Weston General Hospital, a super vaccination centre at Ashton Gate Stadium – where Lauren will be based – as well as 19 other vaccination sites run by GPs.
City of Bristol College hopes to be able to open in March if the government allows it under Covid-secure measures, which can be found on the here.