Dozens of volunteers are spending their free time helping out at COVID-19 vaccination centres as part of a concerted nationwide effort to get more people inoculated.

After months of not being able to provide a helping hand because of pandemic-related closures, St John Ambulance jumped at the chance to help, coordinating officer, Christian Mangion said.

After initially being called in to assist with contact tracing, teams from St John Ambulance are now stationed at the various vaccination centres, assisting with logistics as well as preparing and administering the vaccines.

“We are so proud to be part of history and, hopefully, part of the solution. It is truly an honour,” Mangion said.

Mangion, who has administered doses himself, said most people turning up to get the jab were well-informed about the different vaccines.

Many also arrived at the centre equipped with all the necessary information about their own medical conditions and concerns.

Although most residents were eager to get vaccinated, he did come across a few who asked which vaccine they would be getting, saying they preferred one over the other.

“We always tell people what vaccine we will be giving them and some do show some anxiety but they take the vaccine anyway. The majority are often very eager to get the shot,” Mangion continued.

Before the pandemic hit, the NGO’s work mainly involved providing first aid assistance during mass events. This, he said, meant volunteers often experienced a certain level of excitement, especially when they had to react swiftly.

But the process of administering the vaccines, though different, was still “special” for volunteers, particularly those who do not work in the medical field.

“I work in logistics and so this is very special. I am actually out there helping make a difference in all of this and that is something amazing to experience,” Mangion said.

He assured that all the volunteers go through rigorous training and assessment before being allowed to administer the jabs. They are also highly trained in dealing with emergencies, he said.

As of Tuesday, more than 318,000 first doses of the vaccine were administered, meaning more than half the adult population has been given at least one dose.

There are some 432,616 adults eligible for the vaccine. 

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