HE’S used to filming documentaries on some of the most dangerous front lines on the planet, embedded with armies, gangsters and drug lords.
But now TV’s Ross Kemp has joined a different front line — mucking in with The Sun’s Jabs Army to help deliver Covid jabs.
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And the ex-EastEnders actor says our helpers are the real stars, adding he has never felt so humbled.
A visibly emotional Ross, 56, told volunteers at Salt Hill Activity vaccine centre in Slough, Berkshire: “I want to thank you personally. I’ve had Covid and it’s been tough.
“It’s refreshing to see the Jabs Army out on the ground here. You can’t quantify the burden they have taken off the NHS staff.
“This is all about kindness — that is the most important reason that people are here. They care about the vulnerable in society.
"I’m incredibly impressed by the generosity of the British public.”
The centre is the UK’s 17th mass jab hub and enables 800 people to get the vaccine every day.
Ross joined the 18-strong team of volunteers.
After providing a negative test, he got stuck in, helping them to direct anxious patients to designated waiting areas.
Volunteer Rajan Bindra, 44, who is part of the greetings team, told Ross: “I was really proud that my 80-year-old mum Surindira was one of the first people to get their vaccine here.
"A lot of the elderly people who come through here are really anxious and we try to put their mind at ease when we welcome them.
“It’s very rewarding being here despite the cold!”
How to register
TO register interest, visit nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/nextinline.
You will be contacted as soon as a suitable volunteer role becomes available in your area.
Other roles available may include Patient Transport, Community Response (shopping and medicine delivery), NHS Transport, Check in and Chat.
- Register at: nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/nextinline
One of the first patients of the day is Brian Rich, 84, who was given his jab by nurse manager Melissa Parkes, 46, while Ross kept him at ease by chatting.
He told Ross how he had not been able to see his family since last year and applauded the team for giving him hope that he could soon be reunited.
NHS staff on site were full of praise for the essential Jabs Army volunteers.
One doctor told Ross: “We want everyone to know we have a well-run system in place with social distancing — so don’t be afraid to come and get vaccinated.
“The Jabs Army has really played an important role in the last three to four weeks in making that message clear.
“Some of the people coming here are in their 80s and 90s and are confused — it’s the first time they have been out of the house for a year and it’s vital that we have people to help shepherd them through and reassure them.
“Volunteers also give out masks and help sanitise surfaces. Without them it would not be possible to run a vaccination centre.
“This is a mammoth task and we are indebted to the volunteers who have stepped up.”
Keen to speak to more volunteers, Ross struck up a conversation with Sarah Kelly, 57, who was helping sanitise jab stations.
Speaking about why she signed up to be one of the 50,000 Jabs Army volunteers, Sarah said: “I just felt that the vaccine rollout was so important.
The more volunteers there are the quicker we get through the process.
Jamie Green, 52, allocates shifts through his database of 600 Sun volunteers.
Lifesavers on track
A TEAM of Network Rail volunteers dubbed The Orange Angels have set up a vaccination hub opening today.
The staff, with colleagues from Great Western Railway, helped fit it out in five days.
Thousands of jabs a day are expected at the Westpoint Exeter centre.
Volunteer Nick Millington, 46, said a colleague and his son died of Covid last week.
He added: “We have dedicated our efforts to him. This is going to start saving lives.”
He said: “A lot of people are coming out of the house for the first time since March and they’re often quite anxious.
“We make sure they feel reassured and safe.”
Ross added: “These volunteers are vital to help stop the NHS become overwhelmed. If you’re healthy and fit the criteria, please volunteer.”
SAFETY for our Jab Army volunteers is paramount.
Here we answer your questions about how you will be protected while working as a Steward Volunteer in a vaccine centre:
When I do my voluntary duty will I be safe from catching Covid?
Volunteer and patient safety is the NHS and Royal Voluntary Services’ top priority.
While is no upper age limit for volunteering but being a Steward Volunteer is a frontline role and is not for anyone who is in a medium or high-risk category.
Team leaders will ensure volunteers have the correct equipment to keep them safe at all times and social distancing will be in place throughout volunteer shifts.
There are lots of other volunteering roles available on the website.
Will I be asked to wear PPE?
Yes, the safety of volunteers is extremely important and you will be provided with appropriate PPE at the vaccination centres by your team leader.
Will I come in direct contact with patients?
One of the key jobs of our Steward Volunteers is to make sure people queuing up to receive their jabs are keeping to a safe social distance.
This is also includes yourself, so, where possible you will be two metres away from patients and other volunteers.
What training will I be given?
You will be provided with a comprehensive ‘Getting You Started guide’ to explain everything that is required on site.
As this is a non-clinical role, no specific training is required and once you arrive on site, team leaders will take you through a site introduction and briefing.
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