NHS England has urged Trusts across the UK to outline plans to vaccinate all frontline staff against COVID-19 following the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
From the middle of January, all NHS Trusts will be able to provide vaccinations for local healthcare and social care workers, which will be critical in keeping both them and patients safe. The jab will be offered to all staff across NHS services, including those who work in general practices, pharmacies, dentists and other primary and secondary care settings. It will also be available to ambulance trusts, volunteers and all independent providers, such as community-based mental health services.
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‘This is the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history and as we move to the next phase of the rollout, it is only right that we prioritise the NHS staff who have been on the frontline of this global pandemic,’ said Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England, Ruth May.
‘We will be prioritising the nurses, doctors and other frontline staff who continue to work tirelessly, before administering the vaccine to almost all health and social care staff by mid-February.’
The aim is to have made significant progress in immunising all frontline staff by the first week of February and uptake will be continuously monitored. Clinics will be scaled up to enable vaccinations to take place seven days a week and health and social care workers will be invited to book appointments. The NHS will ensure CCGs have a full list of providers, including independent and private services. For example, private sector dentists registered with the CQC, which the NHS has access to.
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‘In the middle of an incredibly dark time, this is very welcome news. Day after day scores of people who care for the sick and vulnerable put their lives on the line, many have already been seriously ill; ensuring they all have the vaccine is the surest way to help the healthcare system to keep functioning at the highest levels as we work to overcome this pandemic and save as many lives as possible,’ said Helen Stokes-Lampard.
‘We have done an incredible job to get as far as we have with the vaccine programme in this country, we know the future roll-out plans are ambitious, but they are achievable and hopefully now people can see there is a light at the end of the tunnel.’