Volunteer Drivers ensure people get to their COVID-19 vaccinations
Service will transport their oldest passenger aged 100 to an appointment this week
As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme accelerates the Banbury based Volunteer Driver Service is playing a big part in ensuring people get to their appointments on time. So far around 100 COVID-19 vaccination trips have been undertaken in just under a week.
The average age of those requesting transport to their appointments initially was around 90. This week the volunteer drivers will transport their oldest passenger to date – a 100-year-old person who will receive their vaccination.
Keith Davies, the Volunteer Driver Service Manager, said: “The actual appointment is quite short: you’ll be vaccinated and then sat down for 15 minutes to check there’s no adverse effect. Bus times might not fit and they tend to run like clockwork. Taxis would involve either leaving the metre running for 20 minutes or booking two taxis. We’re ideally placed to help.”
The Volunteer Driver Service was established April 2012 and uses volunteers to take people to appointments when there is no reasonable alternative transport available. Passengers pay 45p per mile from the driver’s home to help cover the driver’s fuel cost.
All the drivers use level 2 PPE – the same level as the volunteers for South Central Ambulance wear. After each trip the vehicles are all fully cleaned and PPE items changed.
The Volunteer Driver Service has around 120 drivers who offer their services, although some are dormant at the moment. Keith said: “Our drivers are real people with real families and real concerns, so some of them have taken a back seat at the moment. When I first started our drivers tended to be older people who had retired. Now we’ve hit a demographic of people who tend to be self employed. We have some people who want to do as much as they can and others who dip in and out when they can. They are all completely welcome.”
To protect the volunteers and passengers each driver is given a PPE pack which is worth around £70. Keith said: “Each trip we do with PPE costs around £3.50. Over 500 trips that’s an ongoing cost of £1,750. We haven’t passed one penny of the PPE costs on to our passengers.”
The cost of the PPE is currently being covered through fundraising and donations. Anyone who would like to contribute can do so via this JustGiving page.
To book a journey or simply get further information about the Volunteer Driver Service should call 0300 3030 125.