Our healthcare services have been given the target of offering everyone aged 18 and above a booster jab by the end of December.
This comes at a time of year when healthcare services are always under increased pressure and that issue is significantly heightened this year due to illness, waiting list backlog and Covid restrictions.
The target to offer jabs and vaccinate hundreds of thousands more people by the end of the month requires a huge number of staff, many of which are already tied up with handling the crippling pressure on our healthcare services.
To that end, our healthcare officials are asking as many people as possible to apply to be volunteers, either to help marshal vaccination sites or to become vaccinators, administering jabs to thousands of Derbyshire residents.
Dr Steve Lloyd, executive medical director the NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said this week: “My plea is to please consider joining the thousands of vaccinators and volunteers who have already signed up to lend a hand – this mission wouldn’t be possible without them.”
He said the “tremendous support from volunteers” had helped get the vaccination programme to where it is now”, with 86.8 per cent of Derbyshire’s 12+ population having had a Covid vaccine.
Dr Lloyd said that there was a “challenge” to meet vaccination targets which required a surge in volunteers and other staff.
He said: “The input from volunteers has been fantastic and gives me a great deal of comfort that our communities in Derby and Derbyshire understand the necessity for vaccination against Covid-19, but also the necessity for the community to come together to deliver this programme as an emergency response.
“For those who have volunteered, from all walks of life, it has been tremendous, and it shows what we can do when we work together against an immense challenge like Covid-19.”
Dr Mike James, clinical director at the Midland House vaccination centre in Derby, said the Department for Work and Pensions was offering up 500 staff nationally to help with admin work on the vaccination programme and the county’s CCG was also offering support, along with many other agencies.
He said: “Space isn’t the problem, vaccine supply isn’t the problem, our main limiting factor is staff – unpaid volunteers and other staff.
“Staffing is probably our biggest limiting factor and armed forces personnel were a very welcome addition to our workforce.”
Tom Gray, a 56-year-old registered pharmacist, is one of those volunteering at Midland House in Derby, following 25 years at Royal Derby Hospital and eight years at the University of Nottingham.
He said his vaccinator role involved “working with the walking well” so was a simple process to jump into and gained huge satisfaction from being able to calm people’s nerves as they came for their jabs.
Mr Gray said: “You get instant satisfaction from giving people their vaccines.”
If you would like to volunteer to help with Derbyshire’s Covid vaccination programme, visit https://bit.ly/3GLko0v