‘One of my ex-soldiers gave me the Covid-19 jab’
Jake Wade, 56, is based in Hartlepool. He served in the Navy and Royal Marines, and now brings his years of medical experience to the NHS
I was 17 when I joined the Navy as a medic. It was the year after the Falklands War and I thought I’d like to get involved in something for the service of the country – to do what’s necessary when the time comes.
As a Navy medic I was trained to deal with trauma from the very basic things up to the most drastic ones you could think of, like gunshots and traumatic amputations. After 25 years, I left in 2008 to join the Army, then in 2016 I moved to the NHS.
During the pandemic I was initially asked to oversee the distribution of PPE. There were shortages across the board, and having worked overseas with the Royal Marines, my logistics knowledge came to the fore. I could make sure community midwives and health visitors had what they needed. In some cases this entailed doing the deliveries myself in the van!
For me, the pleasure in the role was being able to provide medical staff with the assurance that they would have the equipment they needed. I felt I was making a real difference.
When the time came to get my Covid-19 jab, it was one of my former soldiers who gave me it. That was very impressive because when I met him he was 17, wide- eyed and fresh out of the box. When I next met him he was teaching the volunteers and St John’s Ambulance staff how to administer the vaccine. I was full of admiration for him. He’d stepped up as a young man and was teaching much more mature individuals. But I wasn’t surprised – that’s what we expected our troops to do: step into the breach, wherever the breach happens to be.
You can’t praise the veterans highly enough for getting involved in the vaccine campaign. They will serve their community in whatever circumstances, whether it’s difficult or easy. You’ve got a group of people who drop everything as soon as they’re asked, regardless of what their family commitment might be, and go and do the job. I don’t think there is a better resource for the country to draw upon.