Lower Eighth Covid-19 Vaccine Volunteering

Well done to Lower Eighth students, Matt Smith, Liam Corcoran and Senan Bottomley for volunteering and helping with the vaccine roll out in Barnes over the Christmas holidays.  Read Matt Smith’s full report below.

Over the Christmas holidays, I volunteered at the Essex House Surgery (the local GP in Barnes) to help with the initial rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine for the over 80s. I was joined by Senan Bottomley and Liam Corcoran from St Paul’s and volunteers from the local community. I was given several different tasks to help make the process as friendly, smooth and efficient as possible. My main roles were to assist the elderly being vaccinated into the surgery and to support them, including by serving hundreds of cups of tea, as they waited during their 15-minute observation period after the vaccination.

I had numerous interesting experiences. While waiting with a woman in the observation room, I witnessed a 90-year-old practising her ballroom dancing and doing yoga, which was surprising. However, the most memorable take-away for me was talking to the elderly as they told stories of their lives. I was particularly moved by a conversation with an Old Pauline who attended the school in the early 1950s and is still proud to this day to be part of C Club.

The experience of helping the elderly was extremely rewarding, as I was able to engage closely with them while still keeping a safe distance. My interactions were unforgettable and surprising, with the over 80s having an overwhelmingly positive outlook about the COVID situation and the future, notwithstanding the hardships they had been through in the last nine months. A testament to their generation and the strength of the human spirit.