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Newbury woman aims to be part of the NHS Covid solution

Donna Collins is preparing for her first shifts as an NHS vaccinator
Donna Collins is preparing for her first shifts as an NHS vaccinator

On Mother’s Day last year Donna Collins saw her mum for the last time.

She died days later from a stroke, at the start of the first national lockdown and, with no ‘support bubbles’ allowed, while the family had been asked to stay away and allow her carers to look after her.

With her business shut too, the mother-of-three said she focussed her attention on becoming “part of the solution” and has just been accepted as an NHS vaccinator.

Miss Collins, who lives in Newbury, runs Body Bonito – a salon based at Newbury Rugby Club – and already offered injectables as part of her treatments.

But the industry was one of the last to be allowed to reopen and so Miss Collins wanted to make good use of her time away from work.

“We have all been hit hard by this and I wanted to do something to help,” she said.

“My business had to close and I lost my mum and I just got to the point where I was sick to death of Covid, which is why I wanted to be part of the solution.

“Every little thing we all do is part of the solution to get back to normality.

“I want to help out and hopefully this way all the nurses, who have been taken out of their surgeries, can start to go back to their day jobs too and help people who need them for other things.”

Miss Collins started by getting involved in the testing regime, working weekly with F1 company Williams, before deciding to apply for the role of vaccinator with the NHS.

“I had to undertake online training and then had an interview with occupational health to make sure I was in the right mental and physical health to do it,” she explained.

“I have also been DBS checked.

“I then had the call two weeks ago to tell me I had passed it all.

“I had my own jab last week and I have now had my induction.

“I have been assigned the Oxfordshire trust and was told at the induction how to book on and book myself shifts.”

She said she also plans to reopen her salon when Government guidelines allow, but doesn’t want that to put an end to her work with the testing and vaccinations.

“People’s mental health is at an all-time low and a lot of my older clients are now banging on my door to come back again,” she said.

“They have had their first vaccine and it’s given them the confidence to get back to do things now.

“Leading up to the first lockdown I was getting cancellation after cancellation because people were hearing about Covid on the news and getting really scared.

“It’s not nice to see how frightened people have been.

“I am really pleased to see the confidence that the vaccine roll out is having on people; old and young.

“We all want life to resemble normality again and so it doesn’t matter how far I will have to travel for the vaccination sessions, because I want to do this.

“I want to help and it does make me feel good to be doing it.”

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