Covid in Leeds: Seacroft Pharmacy issues urgent plea for volunteers to deliver booster vaccine rollout

A community pharmacy in Leeds has issued an urgent plea for volunteers to help drive the booster vaccination roll-out.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:45 am

Volunteer marshals have been "invaluable" in delivering Covid-19 jabs at The Medical Centre in York Road, where Seacroft Pharmacy has run vaccine clinics since May.

But its owners Nikki and Ashley Cohen urgently need extra manpower to help give booster vaccines to over 50s and the vulnerable this autumn.

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Feature on The Medical Centre, Seacroft, Leeds..Marshalls are pictured outside the centre.16th September 2021..

Starting from Monday, eligible people will be called forward to book their booster jab six months after they had their second dose.

“We’re 100 per cent committed to doing it, but it’s a massive undertaking," Nikki told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“Running a full vaccination centre needs a whole new workforce and there’s a lot to do.

"We really rely on the marshals. You need bodies to get people in and out safely and make them feel comfortable, especially as we go into the winter.

Feature on The Medical Centre, Seacroft, Leeds..Ashley Cohen is pictured in the centre..16th September 2021..

“The support has been incredible. People are really motivated to help beat this virus that is spoiling all of our lives. We just need more people involved.”

Seacroft Pharmacy's vaccine clinics are held every Wednesday and Thursday from 8.30am-5.30pm at The Medical Centre, 846 York Road, and marshals can volunteer to work a morning or afternoon shift.

Around six volunteers are needed for every session, helping to support less able people into the clinic, book patients in on an iPad, man the desk and monitor people as they wait for 15 minutes after their jab.

Nikki added: "Some clinics have had only two or three volunteers - that’s not going to be sustainable.

Feature on The Medical Centre, Seacroft, Leeds..Ashley Cohen is pictured giving Simon Naylor his 2nd covid jab in the centre..16th September 2021..

"We need to ensure we have enough people for the booster campaign, which will go back to a lot of the over 70s.

“We have a couple of local ladies who volunteer and people who are retired and want to give their time. Everyone says they really enjoy being a part of it - it’s a great atmosphere and it’s a lovely thing to feel like you’re contributing to something worthwhile.”

Nikki and Ashley launched their pharmacy business, Pharm-Assist (Healthcare Ltd), in 2006 to offer a more localised, personal healthcare service to the Leeds community.

They've now delivered more than 15,000 jabs across their Leeds and York clinics, as well as continuing to run their pharmacies in Seacroft, Halton and York.

“When everything else was shutting down, we were open every day," Nikki said.

"In those early months, our staff were working long hours and staying late every night to try and support people through this.

“I hope people now recognise the value their local community pharmacies bring.”

Anyone who wants to volunteer at Seacroft Pharmacy is asked to email coordinator Natalie at [email protected]

The National Bookings System will open on Monday to some people as they become eligible for the jab.

Those living in Leeds can book a jab at 846 York Road Medical Centre (Seacroft Pharmacy) online, or by calling 119.

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