Leeds vaccine volunteer among those praised for 'amazing work' by NHS England bosses

A Leeds vaccine volunteer who translated crucial health messages into Punjabi to reach more communities is among those praised for their “amazing work” in helping with the jabs rollout throughout 2021.

By Joanna Wardill
Monday, 3rd January 2022, 4:45 am

Jaz Kaur Bangerh, 51, has been singled out for praise by NHS England bosses who have highlighted the work of the 100,000-strong national army of volunteers whose efforts would “undoubtedly help save many more lives”.

Jaz has been promoting messages around the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in ethnic minority communities – including translating information into Punjabi.

She said: “Volunteering for the vaccination programme, I have helped people to fill in forms, guided them to the right place and answered any questions – especially if they were a bit anxious in the early days, when there was a lot of information out there.

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Leeds vaccine volunteer Jaz Kaur Bangerh, 51.

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“If you want to have an absolutely brilliant time, please do volunteer – it’s really great fun. You get to meet people from all walks of life, while growing your own experience, learning new skills and feeling better about yourself.”

NHS England estimates the volunteers gave up around two million hours of their time to the vaccine programme throughout 2021, working alongside healthcare staff and especially helping to facilitate the ramped-up rollout of jabs and boosters in December.

The health service launched a recruitment drive in the face of the spread of the Omicron variant and 17,500 people have so far registered their interest in paid vaccination roles, said NHS England.

A further 48,000 people have registered as steward volunteers through the NHS Volunteer Responders programme in just over a month – of which more than 10,000 have already deployed.

Working alongside the NHS, St John Ambulance has seen 17,000 people come forward to do shifts as volunteer vaccinators.

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said the efforts of volunteers would “undoubtedly help to save many more lives”.

She said: “Alongside NHS staff, our selfless volunteers have worked tirelessly to protect the nation – in football stadiums, shopping centres, Christmas markets and countless other vaccination sites up and down the country.

“I want to give my personal thanks to everyone who has given up their time to help us beat record after record – continuing to make the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme the biggest and most successful in health service history.

“I’m sure the nation will join me in paying tribute to these amazing volunteers, whose efforts will undoubtedly help to save many more lives.”

Others whose work was highlighted by NHS England included John Hardman, who has volunteered at jab sites in the capital including Wembley Stadium and the Science Museum.

The 38-year-old said he “can’t recommend it (volunteering) enough”.

“I absolutely love volunteering for the vaccination programme – from greeting and guiding people, helping the elderly and keeping people company while they queue.

“There are lots of opportunities to support locally, even if just for a few sessions.”

NHE England said people interested in getting involved can search NHS vaccine team online.

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