Thousands volunteer to help at West Lothian coronavirus vaccination centre

Thousands of people have volunteered to help at West Lothian’s mass vaccination site at the Pyramids Centre in Bathgate.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 11:05 am
The new Covid-19 vaccination centre at Pyramids Centre, Bathgate. PIC LISA FERGUSON 16/02/2021

Alan McCloskey chief executive officer of West Lothian Voluntary Sector Gateway said: ” Within 24 hours we were able to fill shift rotas right through until the end of May. It really is a good news story. The response is a credit to the people of West Lothian.”

Mr McCloskey described the response in a meeting of the council’s Voluntary Organisations Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel.

His report said: “The site is expected to operate seven days per week from February through to August. The site will be open from 8am to 6.30pm each day.

“To support the on-site health professionals and event management teams, we put out a call for volunteers to undertake meet and greet roles and guiding people to the correct vaccination areas and sign up for a range of shifts.

“There has been an astonishing response from individuals offering to help. Within hours of us creating a sign-up rota database, all three shifts per day, seven days a week through to the end of May have already been allocated. Between two and four volunteers per shift have signed up.”

Cllr Bruce Fairbairn asked about the age range and motivation of volunteers.

“The overwhelming feedback is that they want to help others. That is coming through loud and clear. Some people may have more time on their hands because of furlough, but the message is the just want to help others,” said Mr McCloskey, describing the age range of volunteers as running from 18 to 80.

Cllr Moira Shemilt said it was good news that the spirit of volunteering hadn’t run out of puff given the length of the pandemic.

Chairing the meeting, Cll Kirsteen Sullivan passed on the thanks of one of her constituents who had recently been vaccinated and highlighted how daunting getting vaccinated might be for many who had not been out of the house for months,

She added: “Can I just add my praise to the people who have come forward to support the vaccination programme. It is absolutely tremendous that so many people have come forward and offered their support.”