Dispensing optician (DO), Kate Hooper, has been doing her bit to help beat coronavirus in Wales after training to deliver the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
Kate is a DO manager and trainee contact lens optician (CLO) at Specsavers in Haverfordwest. She completed her training alongside colleagues Andy Britton, the practice’s ophthalmic director, and optometrists Angharad Bowie and Owain Jones.
Kate told DO Online: “I was so happy to be able to help in the roll out of the vaccines. I was a bit nervous at first; I’m a little bit needle and blood phobic so it was completely out of my comfort zone.
“I watched how the nurse worked for the first few vaccinations, then started going through the paperwork. Once I was confident with that, I had my first go at administering the vaccine – which went swimmingly. The nurse was so reassuring, patient, helpful and kind. As busy as they all were that day, she took the time to teach me what to do and then signed me off on my competencies as a vaccinator.”
Kate believes her skills as a DO and trainee CLO helped her to step up to the challenge.
She added: “It’s completely different to my current practice role, but I think my role as a DO and trainee contact lens optician has helped in that I’ve been able to use the care, compassion, clinical skills and professionalism I use with my eyecare patients in the role as an immuniser.”
Kate’s husband Mark, who works for the local council, has also been helping to roll out the vaccination programme – and happened to be assigned to marshal in the car park where Kate was stationed.
“It’s worked out quite nicely, so we try and work at the same time,” she said.
Commenting on his vaccination training, Andy Britton said: “Having worked through the pandemic, being there for my patients and keeping as many as possible out of hospital and freeing up our local GPs, I was looking forward to being part of the route out of the chaos by stepping up and stepping in to help deliver the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine across my community.”