FIREFIGHTERS based at stations across County Durham and Darlington have managed to surpass a milestone of delivering 50,000 Covid-vaccinations, as it continues to help with the North East pandemic efforts.

Since the beginning of the jab roll-out, the emergency crews the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service have been administering vaccines to people in their communities following a drive from the government for agencies and emergency services to assist with the national vaccination programme.

In total, 25 fire staff have been trained up by the NHS to give out vaccinations, which includes 24 operational firefighters and one corporate staff member, who have been working tirelessly alongside colleagues in the NHS to reach as many people as possible in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The ‘call to help’ for the regional fire service came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a pledge to give one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine every day – meaning that ‘non-conventional’ vaccination centres and volunteers had to step up.

Durham Green Watch Firefighter Stephen Hall, who has trained to be a vaccinator, has spoken about his pride of his new ‘part-time’ role and has marvelled at the thought of telling his future grandkids what he did during the pandemic.

He said: “The best part of my role as a firefighter is being able to help people in their moment of need, so vaccinating the public in the battle against Covid seemed like the right thing to do.

The Northern Echo: The fire service have helped to give 50,000 vaccinations so far during the roll-out. Picture: CDDFS.The fire service have helped to give 50,000 vaccinations so far during the roll-out. Picture: CDDFS.

“I have met some wonderful people along the way. I’ve worked with nurses, doctors, dentists, Army soldiers, Royal Marines, the RAF and paramedics. Not to mention all the support staff who have worked alongside us, one big team working together to achieve our aim of vaccinating as many people as we could.

“I’ll miss vaccinating when it comes to an end but hopefully it will mean we have achieved our aim of protecting the public. When I’m an old man and any future grandkids ask me what I did during the pandemic, I’ll proudly say that I was a Covid vaccinator.”

Throughout the roll-out, the fire service has dedicated 12,000 hours to the vaccination drive, which includes vaccinations, logistical and administration support where needed.

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Chief Fire Officer for the service, Stuart Errington, has congratulated the 25 staff members who have stepped up for the region and the nation in the face of the pandemic.

He said: “The dedication shown by the Service vaccinators is inspiring. Through their hard work, we are now closer to delivering nearly 55,000 vaccinations, a figure which is impressive and humbling at the same time. I’m sure the public is as proud of them as I am”

“This work is in addition to the Service’s wider effort to assist during the pandemic. Our staff have delivered food, PPE, worked with the vulnerable and assisted at test centres and the additional marshalling support at Durham and Darlington’s vaccination centres.

“One of the positives that has come out of the pandemic is the spirit and resilience of the communities of County Durham and Darlington and I know that vital work undertaken by the Service couldn’t have been done without those communities pulling together and helping each other where needed.”

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