COVID-19 has been the single greatest public health emergency in the history of World and especially for the NHS in the UK.
The response of current NHS staff and those who have come forward to help out – whether the tens of thousands of former staff and students, or the hundreds of thousands of volunteers – has been nothing short of inspirational, and played a major role throughout the pandemic.
At the same time as pulling out all the stops to ensure everyone who needed care has been able to get it, NHS people have also contributed to the important global effort to develop safe and effective vaccines for the virus, working closely with research partners.
The NHS was the first health system in the world to roll out a clinically-approved, safe and effective vaccine, and we are working now to deliver it to those who would benefit most in hundreds of hospitals, local vaccination services and care homes across the country, with larger vaccination centres also standing ready to be used when supplies allow.
We are grateful to the tens of thousands who applied and trained for a vaccination role, many of whom have started vaccinating. Your local NHS trust will be in contact when the need for additional vaccinators arise – this is dependent on local availability of vaccine supplies and workforce priorities.
While we have enough vaccinators to be able to deliver the number of doses available to the NHS, this will continue to be a huge task, and to ensure we can continue to vaccinate millions of people as quickly as possible – at the same time as keeping other vital services going – the NHS is recruiting thousands of paid and volunteer roles across the country.
Legislation allows a wider group of staff to undertake training to deliver vaccines. This includes many allied health professionals, healthcare scientists and dental staff, as well as other individuals with appropriate first aid training, who are able to undertake additional comprehensive training; so opportunities for flexible, paid roles are open to lots of people.
The NHS has also asked St John Ambulance and the Royal Voluntary Service, which runs the NHS Volunteer Responder programme, to help coordinate the training and deployment of thousands of volunteers who can help ensure the safe and smooth running of vaccination services.
In all cases, full training and appropriate supervision and personal protective equipment will be available to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers, and patients.