Leeds Covid vaccination staff and volunteer recruitment by NHS Clinical Commissioning Group continues as programme scales up

Volunteers and paid staff are being recruited by the NHS in Leeds as it works to build the capacity needed for scaling up the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is continuing to for people to take on immuniser, healthcare assistant, vaccine admin support, ushering and patient flow, and front of house roles.

Its website says: "The NHS has agreed a contract with GPs to ensure we benefit from their vast experience in delivering immunisations, but vaccinating millions of people as quickly as possible - at the same time as keeping other vital services going - will require lots more staff."

A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Picture: Russell Cheyne/PA Wire

The vaccination programme here in Leeds began on December 8, the same day that Margaret Keenan - then 90 - became the first UK recipient of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

With the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab now being administered from today and the number of available doses of both vaccines expected to increase significantly in the coming weeks, further details have begun to emerge about how the programme is taking shape.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: “The biggest vaccination programme in NHS history is already off to a strong start with around one million people already vaccinated against Coronavirus - this is a credit to our exceptional NHS staff.

“GPs, nurses, pharmacists and countless other staff and volunteers have been working around the clock to be able to launch almost 200 more sites this week.

“Combined with the arrival of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, we will now be able to protect many more vulnerable people against the virus and faster.”

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said everyone in the top four priority groups would be offered a first vaccine dose by mid-February "if things go well and with a fair wind in our sails".

Those groups - identified by Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation - include older people in care homes and care home workers, health and social care workers, and everyone aged 70 and over.

It was announced today that mass Covid-19 vaccination hubs are to open across England next week in an effort to boost the number of people inoculated against the virus, although none are in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The venues will sit alongside 775 GP-led centres and 207 hospital sites that are also due to open by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, Morrisons confirmed that car parks at three of its locations, including one in Wakefield, will host drive-through vaccinations from Monday as it said it had offered a further 47 store car parks to the Government.

The NHS Leeds CCG recruitment page explains: "To help ensure that the NHS in Leeds is able to deliver a large-scale vaccination programme without significantly impacting on other vital services, we will be recruiting to a variety of roles, including vaccinators, health care assistants and administrators, while also working with partners to build a bank of volunteers who can support vaccine services. We are working with the universities in Leeds to give students a direct opportunity to get involved with the COVID-19 vaccination programme."

It notes that the Department for Health and Social Care recently changed the law to allow a wider group of staff to undertake training to deliver vaccines.

It says: "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, combined with the support roles required, opportunities for flexible, paid roles are open to lots of people.

"In Leeds we are really keen to help students in the city, as well as recent graduates, gain valuable experience that will help you in your careers. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"As well as paid roles we will be calling on volunteers to help us. We will work with our universities in Leeds and other community and voluntary groups."

In all cases, full training and appropriate supervision and personal protective equipment will be available to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and patients.

Click here for more details on the NHS Leed student recruitment or the national NHS Covid-19 vaccine team programmes.

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