Thousands of volunteers are wanted to help deliver a Covid-19 vaccine across England, once it is approved.
St John Ambulance is urging people to help support the NHS as it prepares to deliver a mass vaccination programme.
The call for support comes following the news of two promising coronavirus vaccine candidates from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech, and Moderna, which have been found to be 95 per cent and 94.5 per cent effective, respectively.
30,000 volunteers needed
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Up to 30,000 volunteers will be needed for a range of roles once a vaccine is approved - from administering injections, to helping those who need one-on-one support during the process.
St John Ambulance has been working throughout the pandemic to help support communities and the NHS, as well as assisting with community projects, such as this year’s seasonal flu vaccinations.
Between now and spring 2021, the charity plans to train more thousands of volunteers to help with the mass roll out, and has begun upskilling its first aid trained volunteers and staff for the new work.
More than 2,000 volunteers have signed up for the programme in over a week, with the first cohort to be ready by 1 December.
Richard Lee, chief operating officer at the charity, said, “We are proud to have been asked to lead the voluntary sector’s contribution in helping the NHS deliver its mass vaccination programme.
“This new agreement highlights just how much respect our charity has won during our ongoing response to the pandemic, as the nation’s health reserve and a trusted partner to the NHS.
“Like everyone else, we are keen to get back to normal and mass vaccination is a vital way of making that happen.”
‘No medical experience’
Last month, the rules over who can administer a vaccine were extended to include independent nurses, allied healthcare professionals, paramedics, physiotherapists, pharmacists and student nurses and doctors.
St John Ambulance has confirmed it has been approached to give volunteers the appropriate training. Those who will be delivering vaccines will receive clinical training, including courses developed by Public Health England, and will be given the appropriate personal protective equipment.
According to the Daily Mail, leaked documents suggest that the only criteria volunteers need to meet is that they are aged between 18 and 69, have at least two or more A Levels or equivalent, are at low risk of Covid-19, and are prepared to undergo a reference check.