Getting the jab - Olga and Iaroslav’s story
As part of the COVID-19 Community Champions programme in Walsall, community organisations are going the extra mile to ensure their communities are able to access the vaccination without any barriers.
Today, we would like to share with you Olga and Iaroslav’s story. Aged 37 and 45 years old respectively, they moved to the UK from Moldova over a year ago. They recently received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination following support to register with a GP and book their vaccinations.
The family were supported by community champions from the Vera Group, a newly established women empowerment group, which aims to bring together women from different European countries, empowering them to live full and meaningful lives; by promoting women's self-esteem, positivity and self-confidence and offering non-judgmental support, advocacy and empowerment.
Vera Group initially met with Olga and Iaroslav to have a conversation about lockdown restrictions, but to also discuss the vaccination.
Olga said: “As a family, we were supportive of the vaccination process and we understand that this is an important step to bring us back to “normality” and to keep safe those who are most vulnerable.
“We tried to book our vaccine and also went to a walk-in vaccination centre. We found out that we could not have it until we registered with our local GP. Considering that we moved to the UK not long ago (1 year ago), we were not sure what process we should follow.
“We are very grateful that Vera Group helped us with that.”
Marianna from Vera Group added: “One of our Community Champions helped them to complete the registration form and very quickly, the family was contacted by the GP confirming that they are registered. Our Community Champion also helped them with booking their vaccination. A few days later, the family received their first jab.”
Olga and Iaroslav received their first dose (Pfizer) at Oak Park Vaccination Centre and will receive their second dose at the beginning of August. They described their experience as very well organised and staff being professional and welcoming.
For them, as a family, the support from the Vera Group made a difference.
“The support that we received meant a lot for us as we finally had our first dose of the vaccine (this makes us feel more positive), but also in the future, we will be able to access and contact our GP if some medical support will be needed.
“We would definitely encourage other people to ask for support if they need to be registered at a local GP and receive their vaccine as it will make a big difference to our community in keeping everyone safe.”
Vera Group would like to encourage any community members to become champions who are willing to offer support (such as having conversations with individuals and families about the vaccination, testing and current restrictions). To find out more and express an interest, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Registering with a GP is helpful when it comes to accessing health services in your local area. Anyone in England can register with a GP, for free.
Being registered can also make the process easier when it comes to booking the COVID-19 vaccination. Details about how and where to register with a local GP can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/
Anyone over the age of 18 can now book their COVID-19 vaccination. To find out more and book your appointments, visit www.nhs.uk/CovidVaccine.