All frontline health and social care workers in England can now self-refer for COVID-19 vaccine appointments, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.
The NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service allows all eligible health and social care workers to self-refer for a vaccine appointment, regardless of whether they work in the NHS or not. This means all eligible nursing staff, including agency and temporary staff and those who work in the independent sector, will be able to book a vaccine appointment themselves for a limited time, until 28 February.
This can be done online via the NHS website or over the phone by calling 119 free of charge, 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week. As part of the booking process, staff need to self-declare they are a health or social care worker and will be required to bring proof of employment to the appointment.
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‘The government has acted upon our demands to intervene and put a system in place to ensure all nursing staff, irrespective of where they work, can easily access the vaccine,’ said RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair.
‘I’d encourage all eligible staff to make use of this self-referral system and book in to get the vaccination without delay to protect themselves, their patients and their family.’
Additionally, as of Sunday 14 February, all care home residents and staff, people aged 70 and over, and the clinically extremely vulnerable have been offered a vaccine. These groups account for 88% of deaths from COVID-19, meaning potentially tens of thousands of lives will be saved. More than 15.3 million people in the UK – more than a quarter of all adults – have now been vaccinated with their first dose.
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‘The speed and precision of this programme – focusing first on protecting people at highest risk – is testimony to the skill and dedication of NHS GPs, nurses, pharmacists, and many thousands of others who have all come together to make such a shared success of this well designed and brilliantly organised NHS vaccination campaign,’ said NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens.
‘Delivering this major national milestone in just 10 weeks would be extraordinary at any time, but doing it in the teeth of the winter COVID surge – which has seen our hospitals looking after more than 100,000 severely ill coronavirus patients in just the last month alone – is a remarkable achievement.’
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