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Volunteers needed to scale up vaccination drive

Our chief executive blogs on the campaign to recruit more volunteers to help the NHS' vaccine booster rollout.

21st December 2021

by Tim Hollingsworth
Chief executive, Sport England

We’re once again at a time of real uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic.

We don’t know what will happen in the coming days and weeks regarding changing restrictions and their impact on the sport and physical activity sector – we can only wait for the government to assess the data and determine what they consider to be the most appropriate course of action.

One thing we do know is the importance of being able to deliver vaccines quickly and efficiently, so that as many people as possible can be as protected as they can be, as quickly as they can be and therefore continue to live happy, healthy lives.

This is the best way to tackle the Omicron variant and limit its impact on our sector, and society more broadly.

Can you help?

In order to do this, the government is asking for volunteers to aid the NHS with the booster rollout.

Our industry has already responded brilliantly in trying times to the threat of the pandemic, and the restrictions we all hoped we’d seen the last of. But this is a different ask, one that we can all – no matter our role in the sector – play a part in delivering.

Whether you can offer your time in a clinical or non-clinical capacity, all volunteers are welcomed as the NHS looks to continue what has already been a phenomenal effort in vaccinating our nation.

Steward Volunteers are essential for the safe and efficient running of vaccination sites. You would help guide people on site, monitor social distancing and identify people who need additional support, among other duties.

It’s quick to sign up and when you're accepted it’s simple to arrange shifts, including short shifts, to fit around your Christmas plans on your phone. Even if you can only help over the Christmas period, every pair of hands is much needed and will be hugely appreciated.

If you wish to assist with vaccinations themselves, St John Ambulance is leading a national recruitment drive for non-clinically trained volunteers who can act as patient advocates, post-vaccination observers and volunteer vaccinators.

People recruited to these voluntary positions will receive full training and competency sign off to ensure they can fulfil the duties.

Whether you can offer your time in a clinical or non-clinical capacity, all volunteers are welcomed.

Lastly, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) is coordinating a deployment service, for anyone holding an active registration with a clinical registration body, directly to vaccination services. If you’re interested in providing assistance as a healthcare professional then you just need to complete the expression of interest form.

Once completed, a NHSEI Improvement regional team member will get in touch to discuss your deployment, and healthcare professionals will also be entitled to more paid volunteering hours.

I know that so much has already been asked of us over the past 20 months, and I’m proud of the work our sector has done to help keep people active during this time.

If you can still offer some assistance now, in another time of need, we can limit the impact of Omicron and hopefully get back to doing what we do best – keeping people active and moving – sooner rather than later.

Find out more about volunteering opportunities and sign up.

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