Vet Beckie’s Covid vaccine volunteering experience

In this article we talk about Vet Beckie’s covid vaccine experience in Huntingdon, Not content with vaccinating animals as part of her role as a Lead Vet here at Cromwell’s, our Beckie Gilbert also volunteered to administer jabs to human patients in the fight against Covid-19.

We asked Beckie what it was like, and whether there were any similarities between treating humans and animals.

“I really felt compelled to contribute as much as I could with the vaccination effort. I knew I’d be happy giving injections.  

“When I first qualified, I worked with large animals and suspected that a cow’s rump would be pretty similar to a person’s shoulder muscles! I thought ‘how hard can it be?’ and was keen to offer my injecting skills!”  

Beckie still had to undergo lengthy training, though, as she was classed as a ‘non-health professional’ despite almost 20 years in veterinary practice caring for animals.  

She said: “The training involved many hours online including mental health and consent capacity, vaccine development, anaphylaxis signs and, of course, fire safety.  

“I then had to go to an in-person session, where I had to prove my worth by injecting oranges.  

“There were many boxes to tick and hoops to jump through before my approval as a Covid vaccinator, and I signed up for my first shift at the end of April.  

“That first shift was memorable and ended with me being rewarded by having the last vaccine of the day, with a new colleague injecting me.”  

Beckie thinks dealing with people’s differing reactions to taking the jab has been a lesson in itself.  

She said: “One of the most interesting observations is that people might be very anxious and concerned, or even a tiny bit passive-aggressive, but they all sit still. They don’t move.  

“They might be tense and you may need to use your very best communication skills in order to reassure them and to connect with them, but they sit still when you inject them.  

“There’s no wriggling or fidgeting as with some of our furry patients when they come in for their vaccinations.”  

Rebecca said she had dealt with humans of all shapes and sizes but insists there’s still far more variety working with animals.  

“Overall, people are much more similar to each other than dogs are,” she said.  

“Although on one particular shift I had the honour of injecting a lady born in 1920, still at home and cooking for herself; then later that day I injected a bodybuilding 19-year-old lad!”  

Beckie’s over-riding feeling is that her day job here at Cromwell Vets is not that different to her time volunteering. 

“As a general practice vet who relishes client interaction and making teams work well, the human connection and communication aspect to vaccinating is really fascinating.  

“I’ve now realised it’s not actually that different treating a worried client’s beloved pet to injecting their arm with Astra Zeneca.”  

We’re so proud of Beckie for using her precious free time to help others. Practice Manager Julie speaks for all of us when she says:

“Beckie has carried out the vaccinating in her own time, on top of her work here at Cromwell Vets, and we’re all incredibly proud of her for volunteering.  

“She has played a vital part in supporting the community here and the wider region in our collective fight against Covid-19 and she has everyone’s support.” 

Thank you Beckie!

Please contact us in Huntingdon if you would like further information on Beckie’s covid journey.