Information for employers

Support your colleagues to join the COVID-19 vaccination team

The fight back against COVID-19 is underway. The NHS has begun what will be the largest vaccination programme in its history, and your organisation could be part of the team that helps to protect millions of people.

As an employer, your role is vital. We are asking all our valued partners to encourage and support their colleagues to step forward and volunteer as part of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme.

St John Ambulance vaccination volunteers will be part of a team that helps people throughout the whole vaccination process, from arrival to discharge. This might mean providing support to vaccinators, caring for people before and after they have the injection, or even administering the COVID-19 vaccine, after all the necessary training. See the three roles available


What does this mean for employers?

By supporting your colleagues to take part as a volunteer on the COVID-19 vaccination programme you could:

  • give your colleagues a chance to be part of the fight against COVID-19
  • help your colleagues gain knowledge and learn new skills
  • improve their mental wellbeing through volunteering to help others.

We provide full training and ask that volunteers can give at least two eight-hour shifts (16 hours a month). This could be in or around working hours but should be agreed with you as their employer.

How to help 

We’re incredibly excited about creating a healthier, safer, more resilient future. If you or your colleagues want to be a part of this, we’d love to have you on board! You’ll no doubt have many questions about this. Please see below for our FAQs for employers.

For more information, please contact your St John Ambulance Account Manager if you have one, or contact vaccinationsupport@sja.org.uk.

Once your colleagues have chosen their preferred role they can apply through our vaccination volunteer page.

 

Frequently asked questions

What is the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme?

St John Ambulance is supporting the NHS to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine across the country and we need your help to do this.

There are three roles specific to the COVID-19 vaccination programme: Volunteer Vaccinator, Vaccination Care Volunteer and Patient Advocate. Specifically, Volunteer Vaccinators will be trained and supervised to administer the vaccinations, but others are there to support people as they go through the process of receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.

Who can volunteer?

As stipulated by the NHS to keep people safe, we will only be able to deploy people to clinical roles within the vaccination programme who fall into the low-risk category. Unfortunately, those in the moderate or high-risk category due to age or existing health conditions would not be able to undertake patient-facing roles. Find out more about risk categories.

All volunteers will receive the same training and meet the same qualification criteria as NHS colleagues who will be doing this work and fulfilling the same roles.

Applying to volunteer

Once your colleagues have chosen their preferred role they can apply through our dedicated vaccination volunteer page

They will then pass through the screening process and be invited to book an online interview. Interviews are carried out on MS Teams, applicants don’t need to have anything installed on their computer or mobile device, all they need is an internet connection.

As a guide, the interview would take around 35 minutes and the only purpose is to check suitability for the role. Everyone will be sent the questions in advance.

If an applicant already has a valid DBS to adult level, we will ask for details to be supplied for checking. If a DBS check is required, we will send a link to an online form and require documents to be uploaded for ID checking. There is no cost to the applicant.

CQC Regulations require that we check employment references for all applicants.

Training

How is the training broken down for each role?

All volunteers will meet strict selection criteria, mandated by the NHS, and receive appropriate training, including official courses developed in partnership with and approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement. As well as extensive training, they will be assessed and under clinical supervision to ensure their own safety and that of everyone receiving the vaccine.

Volunteer Patient Advocate

  • Online learning: approx. 8 hours
  • COVID-secure, face-to-face training: 2 hours
  • Onsite induction on deployment.

Vaccination Care Volunteer

  • Online learning: approx. 8 hours
  • COVID-secure, face-to-face training: 3.5 hours
  • Onsite induction on deployment.

Volunteer Vaccinator

  • Online learning: approx. 8 hours
  • COVID-secure, face-to-face training: 7 hours (including 30 minutes lunch and two 15-minute breaks)
  • Half-day onsite induction on deployment including assessment by a healthcare professional

While our Volunteer Vaccinators will receive training in administering an intramuscular injection, each vaccine that is approved by the Medications and Healthcare products Regulations Agency (MHRA) will have its own, specific e-learning module which volunteers will be required to complete before they are deployed.

How much notice would be given for the training?

Once people have completed the application process, they’re provided with a link to access the online training, which can be completed at their own pace. They are then given options for face-to-face training available on weekdays and weekends, so they can choose a venue and date that suits them, and their employer.

Deployment

When would deployment likely be, and for how long?

Once training is completed, a volunteer is considered ‘deployable’ and there is an expectation that two shifts will be attended by the end of the following month. Volunteers are given access to a rostering app and they can pick the shifts and locations that they wish to attend.

Will volunteers be provided with PPE?

All volunteers will be provided with PPE to the same level of protection as the NHS staff. We are training all volunteers in the correct usage and level of PPE as well as the appropriate method to put on and remove the PPE following patient interaction.

Can volunteers claim expenses?

Yes, travel expenses will be reimbursed. A full process will be made available.

For more information, please contact your St John Ambulance Account Manager if you have one, or contact vaccinationsupport@sja.org.uk.