TWO retired nurses with almost 80 years of service between them have returned to the front line to help deliver Pfizer Covid-19 vaccinations in Blackpool.
Robert Ward and Karen Straw both answered the call for former staff to return to the NHS to help deliver the national vaccination campaign alongside current NHS employees and both say they are “proud’’ to be able to help.
Robert retired in February of this year after being a nurse across several disciplines for 36 years but was happy to answer the call to arms to help others.
He said: “I felt that as a nurse I wanted to give something back in this pandemic and I wanted to be part of the Covid team. I wanted to say I was involved in a clinical role and help patients and I had no qualms to come back and do the work full time.
“I told the Trust I was available when the call came and it is great to be back among old colleagues and help them too. I had to do quite an extensive training course to be able to do the vaccines to make sure I was a safe practitioner.
“The first day of vaccinations was a historic one and I actually felt quite proud when I got home. It is definitely something to tell your grandkids.’’
Karen retired officially in June 2019 after 38 years’ service in hospitals and the community but has used her skills as part of the staff flu vaccination campaign at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for the past two winters.
When the vaccinator posts were advertised she quickly offered her support.
She said: “As soon as the call came I was happy to take part.
“I see it as a light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccinations are the best way for us to get back to some form of normality and move on. The staff are under so much pressure and there are people in the community who have been shielding and some people who have been on their own for a long time so it really is the way forward.
“I must admit it felt a bit scary on Tuesday before everything started but it was also exciting but overall I am proud to be part of it and I will be here for as long as they need me.’’