A GROUP of volunteers responsible for vaccinating thousands of Maldon residents from Covid have celebrated 100 hours of service.

The group at the Maldon vaccination centre at the council offices, managed by Linda Dutaut of Maldon and District CVS, were praised for the jab rollout.

The 17 who passed the 100-hour mark were presented with a certificate and letter of thanks from project leader Samantha Young, head of operations at Longfield Medical Centre.

The tasks include guiding people in from the car park, sanitising the surfaces, administering the vaccine, and staying in the rest areas to help residents after their jab.

Volunteer Julie Ovenden said it was a great experience.

She said: “Samantha told the volunteers that their determination in supporting the roll out of the vaccine could not be overstated and hoped it had been a positive experience for them.

“I love doing it. I have only been doing it since the beginning of January.

“Most people are positive, but some can be anxious about the jab. We’re just there to reassure them and we’re always jolly.”

Maldon and District CVS have been responsible for recruiting the volunteers and have been working tirelessly since March last year to help residents affected by the pandemic.

Director Sarah Troop said: “The volunteers at the centre have been mind-blowing.

“The amount of hours they are willing to give up to do something which is so important for the community has been quite inspirational.

“We’ve got a team of 80 people running the centre which can be up to seven days a week covering those rotas.

“The entire Covid response in Maldon district would not have happened if we didn’t have the volunteers helping us and the district has stepped up to the plate and shown us what it’s good for.”

Maldon District Council has also praised their efforts.

Leader Wendy Stamp said: “I would like to congratulate the whole team at the vaccination hub and particularly the volunteers for achieving 100 hours of voluntary service.

“The dedication of the volunteers and the commitment of the NHS staff and everyone involved has been truly amazing, and I am proud that this council has been able to help in supporting the important rollout of the Covid vaccine.”

NHS figures show 21,300 people in the Maldon district had received both Covid-19 jabs by May 9.

This represents 39 per cent of those aged 16 and over.

Of those to have received both jabs, 19,865 were aged 40 and over – 50 per cent of the age group.

Across Maldon, 73 per cent of those aged 16 and over have had one jab.