Swansea University paramedic students have received their coronavirus vaccine as they continue to work on the NHS frontline.
The students say they are delighted they have now been protected as they go about their duties helping support vital services.
Sarah Board, a second year Dip HE Paramedic Science student, said: “Having transported a very unwell Covid patient into Bronglais Hospital this week, I felt far happier spending an hour in the ambulance treating her and being in such close proximity knowing I had had my vaccine. It felt like having an added layer of PPE!”
Josephine McCarthy, who is in her first year on the BSc Paramedic Science course, added: “Being able to have the vaccine enables us to keep others and ourselves safe. At the moment, every little helps.”
Nikki Williams, team lead for paramedic studies, said: “At Swansea University we enjoy a close partnership with the Welsh Ambulance Service (WAST) and this has strengthened over the past year.
“Throughout the pandemic our students have been able to continue their education and training, particularly their clinical placements.
“WAST has ensured all students have been issued with appropriate PPE, protecting them, their colleagues, service users and their carers.
“Providing the vaccine to our students is the next step in this exemplary process and demonstrates the vital role students play in delivering care during their training.”
Mel De Castro-Pugh, a second year Dip HE Paramedic Science student, said: “As a frontline paramedic student with an underlying health condition, having the vaccine - combined with the right level of PPE - has given me some peace of mind working with Covid patients.
“I can finally see a light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, we just need as many people as possible to get vaccinated.”
WAST vaccination lead Jo Kelso said: “As a Trust, we have been delighted to have our student paramedics join us to directly fight against this disease and have ensured they are afforded access to the vaccines alongside their frontline WAST colleagues in patient-facing roles, our volunteers and our sub-contracted partners.
“Having the support of our health board colleagues to include Swansea University students in their mass vaccination clinics is deeply appreciated."
Paramedic students have been working alongside qualified colleagues throughout the pandemic. Back in March, 101 Swansea students signed up to work with WAST and support the non-urgent and non-critical, planned patient transport services which in turn freed up qualified paramedics for more urgent duties.