A HEALTH and social care assessor at Wiltshire College said she felt "a moral obligation" to join the thousands of people training to become a Covid-19 vaccinator.

Shirley Kinsey, who lives in Shrewton, has been administering the vaccine at Salisbury's City Hall since it first opened as a vaccination centre in January.

Shirley has been working at Wiltshire College and University Centre for two years, but with more than 40 years of experience as an NHS nurse and midwife, as well as six years in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, she wanted to support the fight against coronavirus.

To do so she took part in the necessary training last year following the Government's call out for help, which enabled her to give vaccines to the public when they became available.

Wanting to help

“At the start of the virus, I felt I had useful skills to offer and a moral obligation to help out at this unprecedented time to help individuals and our country, to get on top of this virus as soon as possible," Shirley said.

She added: “I’ve been helping out with vaccinations for a couple of months now and I have to say the people are great.

"It is generally older people as well as health and social care staff. They are always grateful and in good humour.

“For some elderly people, attending is not particularly easy, but they are always stoic about it.

"The process is less than 20 minutes, so the only thing is that it doesn’t combat the loneliness that many are suffering.”

Salisbury Journal: Wiltshire College and Universty Centre staff member turned vaccinator Shirley KinseyWiltshire College and Universty Centre staff member turned vaccinator Shirley Kinsey

Milestones at Salisbury City Hall vaccination centre

The vaccine rollout effort at the City Hall has been a success since it opened earlier this year.

By March 15 the NHS team had delivered 200,000 vaccine doses to the top priority cohorts.

The site is now closed until April 12 however, due to a shortage of jabs.

Second doses of the coronavirus vaccine will resume after the temporary closure, and will be available throughout all of April at other vaccine sites, such as those led by GP practices.

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury City Hall vaccination clinic - Picture by Spencer MulhollandSalisbury City Hall vaccination clinic - Picture by Spencer Mulholland

'Safe and effective'

When asked if she had any advice for others regarding the vaccine, Shirley said: “I would just ask everyone who has been offered the vaccine to accept it.

"It is safe and effective.

"By accepting the vaccine, we are each doing our bit to help.”

Highs and lows of lockdown

Shirley has missed seeing her family during the Covid-19 lockdowns and now during her time as a vaccinator, but she and her husband have welcomed the quieter times for reflection.

The mum-of-three said: “My house is completely decluttered and the garden hasn’t been this well-tended to in years!

"I’ve also had lots of time to reflect and it’s been lovely to see so much wildlife around us.”

“I have really missed seeing my two sons and also my daughter," she added, "she and her partner are both key workers and so luckily until I began vaccinating we were in a childcare bubble and I was able to see my grandchildren.”

Covid-19 impact on work

When Shirley isn’t offering her support to the NHS, the health and social care assessor is busy providing online support to students studying distance learning courses through the college.

She said: “For me specifically, my role was always online, so it didn’t change, and I love the flexibility that offers.

“Last year was very busy for us with lots of people applying for these courses to study online during lockdown.

"Many were able to submit their coursework as expected, but there were many, particularly mums, who were home-schooling their children and working in care homes that needed extra time to be able to complete their courses.”

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