WHEN the coronavirus jab emerged as the way out of the pandemic, being a Samaritans volunteer was not enough for big-hearted council worker Mohamed Sidat so he promptly signed up to become a vaccinator.

In February he trained for his new life-saving role with St John Ambulance and now does weekend shifts immunising people.

The 48-year-old father-of-three, who works in Blackburn with Darwen Council’s social integration team, is also one of the faces of the authority’s vaccination campaign appearing on bus shelter posters, social media and videos on its two digital screens in Town Hall Square and at Larkhill.

Mr Sidat, who has jabbed more than 150 people, said: “I volunteer with Samaritans and we were all offered the chance to train as vaccinators. This isn’t the kind of opportunity you get every day and I thought it would be amazing to be a small part of the national drive to combat coronavirus.

“Over the last 16 months, my role at work has changed and I’ve been involved in the Help Hub, community testing, surge testing and encouraging vaccination. To also train as a vaccinator and help people protect themselves against Covid was the whole package to me.

“Members of my family have suffered or lost their lives to Covid, and I’ve got family in South African and India who are struggling to access the vaccine. This is the best opportunity for me to do my bit to help end the pandemic.

“Some people coming into the vaccine centre still feel unsure about the vaccine right up to the point when they have their jab. We need to get as many people vaccinated and if seeing other people’s reasons for getting vaccinated helps someone to make up their mind to have it, I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Adam Williams, St John Ambulance’s head of community response, said: “St John Ambulance volunteers have now given more than a million hours of their time to help combat Covid-19, including almost 600,000 hours on vaccinations.

“Every single hour gets us closer to the other side of this pandemic.”

Council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan said: “Vaccine roll-out in Blackburn with Darwen is going well.

“I would urge anyone who wants to help things get back to some kind of normality safely to get vaccinated as soon as they can.”