Firefighters in Shropshire are approaching 4,000 vaccinations delivered to residents since Friday, February 12.
In just three weeks, around 60 operational and support staff have worked with NHS partners to train and be redeployed at three centres across Shropshire.
At the time of writing, the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) confirmed that ‘more than’ 27,000 vaccinations had been given to the public by FRS staff ‘following a drive to assist’ with the national effort.
This figure equates to fire and rescue service staff having administered approximately one in 600 immunisations of the 16.5m given so far.
In addition, some 500 hours a week of marshalling has also helped the flow of people and vehicles around the centres run smoothly at the Telford International Centre, Ludlow Racecourse and Shrewsbury Indoors Bowls Centre to help deliver the COVID-19 vaccinations.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dan Quinn said: “We’re really happy to be working so effectively with our health partners to get staff trained and redeployed to support the roll out of this vaccine which is giving reassurance to so many people in our community.
“Our very ethos is to make Shropshire safer and we’re proud to be part of this drive to help get our community vaccinated as practically and as quickly as possible.
“I’m very proud of all our staff, the majority of whom already have emergency medical experience and have undergone training closely monitored by NHS colleagues. It’s been a fantastic show of collaboration and community spirit and another example of how we are ready, willing, and able to support our communities and partners."
This work is another example of how Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is adapting during the pandemic. It is also planning to expand it Safe and Well visits while driving ambulances for residents returning from hospital, providing mental health support to front line workers, helping to coordinate teams on site, providing medical assistance and implementing traffic management plans.
David Evans, Joint Accountable Officer for NHS Shropshire and NHS Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “We are grateful for the support of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service who have helped us to deliver vaccinations across the county.
“Staff from NHS organisations are working alongside volunteers from partners in the region to support the roll-out of the vaccination programme, helping us to give the vaccine to people who are eligible to receive it.
“I am proud of all our NHS staff and volunteers, some of whom have been temporarily seconded to the vaccination roll-out and others who are volunteering in addition to their existing jobs.”
Fire service personnel are working vaccination shifts around their existing workloads where possible and, in some cases, are working additional time outside of working hours and that emergency cover is not affected.
Mark Weaver (pictured), Area Group Commander for Training and Development said: "I feel very privileged to be part of the vaccination team for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and would like to thank all involved for the training and chance to do this very important work. I put myself forward as I lost a family member to this horrible pandemic and I'd like to do all I can to help bring the country out of lockdown and back to what will be the new normal. It's been great working alongside other agencies in delivering these vaccinations, I’ve met some amazing people and made some good friends in the process."