Defence firm BAE Systems answers the plea to help Portsmouth's vaccination programme

DOCKYARD workers have answered a call to arms to help deliver life-saving coronavirus jabs at a vaccination centre.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 11:03 am
BAE Systems employees help out The Hive at the vaccination centre in St James' Hospital

A team of 26 staff at BAE Systems have been offering their time to support the vaccine rollout at St James’ Hospital in Milton.

Their effort comes as HIVE Portsmouth seeks to ramp up its work to get more jabs in people’s arms ahead of a booster programme next month.

BAE staff from Portsmouth Naval Base and the company’s Broad Oak munitions factory in Hilsea have been helping out during a series of four-hour sessions at St James’.

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Among those to sign up to the plea was Katie Beck. She said: ‘When I saw the call for volunteers I jumped at the chance to support my local community. Although it was only a small amount of my time it was my opportunity to be a part of the fight.

‘I know that because of everyone involved, from the welcome team that stood in the rain at the entrance gate, to the medical staff administrating the vaccine that over 300 people that day where a that little bit closer to "getting back to normal”.’

Colleague Cassandra Potterat said she was delighted to be a part of the vaccination effort and said: ‘It was a really lovely experience, it’s so well organised and everyone was so welcoming.’

Fellow BAE Systems worker Barry Edgar agreed. and said: ‘It was so nice to be able to do your bit.’

HIVE volunteer co-ordinator Demi Lawrence said she and the rest of the team were grateful for the additional support.

‘It’s been great having people from BAE Systems down here, come rain or shine they cheerfully did everything we asked them to do and we’ve really enjoyed having them around,’ she said.

Sarah Baker, HIVE’s volunteer manager, praised all those who had taken the time to help with the vaccine effort.

She added: ‘The amazing army of volunteers has been vital in helping us to roll out this massive programme to support the NHS at St James’ and at GP practices so quickly and effectively but it’s not over yet. It’s crucial that we continue to protect as many people as we can to save lives and protect our NHS.’

The News launched the Grab a Jab campaign this summer to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and improve Portsmouth’s relatively low rates, in a bid to stop future Covid outbreaks in the city.

Those keen to volunteer with HIVE and support the vaccination effort can find out more at: https://volunteer.hiveportsmouth.com/.

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