Meet Ankita Redla, Volunteer COVID-19 vaccinator and second year medical student

Hi, my name is Ankita Redla, I am currently a second year medical student at King’s College London.  I recently volunteered as a COVID-19 vaccinator and want to share my experience.

I love interacting with people which is one reason I chose to go into the Healthcare Profession.  I had been volunteering in my local community from a young age and had very fulfilling experiences.  Volunteering at a local residential home for the elderly and at Sportability club for children and young adults with learning difficulties gave me a sense of purpose and enabled me to develop qualities of patience, empathy, compassion and respect. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was quite restricted with the choices for volunteering work and I was actively looking for suitable opportunities when I came across a call for vaccinator volunteers.  I got in contact expressing my interest, attended a training session and soon got started as a vaccinator.

I was then posted at a vaccination hub in East London.  I was slightly anxious before my first day as it was a new area, new place, but my nerves were soon overcome with the staff being very welcoming and making me feel part of a team.  Days were quite busy with a steady flow of people, some having their first jab and others their second. Apart from the professional aspect of vaccine administrations, I had an enriching experience of meeting and interacting with people of different ages, from very diverse backgrounds and ethnicities.  I honed my communication skills given the language barriers and was also able to gain some insights into cultural attitudes towards vaccination.  Some of the varied conversations I have had with people during this time will stay memorable.  My whole experience was very enjoyable and fulfilling!

My top tip to give to someone wanting to be a volunteer is to not be afraid to reach out.

I would encourage everyone to have a try at this amazing volunteering opportunity.  Despite being a second year medical student, I had a very steep and positive learning curve in many aspects, which should stand me in good stead during my medical training.  I look forward to more of such opportunities in the future.