Over one third of people across the UK have had their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, while more than 50% of the population have had their first.
The Covid jab rollout has been an impressive feat by the NHS and the pubic alike.
But it does rely heavily on staff and NHS volunteers – and it is still ongoing, with 30-year-olds the most recent age group to receive their invitations, plus surge testing/vaccine pushes designed to counteract new ‘super mutant’ variants of the virus popping up.
So, can you still volunteer to help with the vaccine programme? What’s involved – and do you have to work at a centre?
Here’s everything you need to know.
How can you volunteer to help with the Covid vaccine rollout?
There are a number of ways to do your bit for supporting the vaccine programme.
NHS Volunteer Responders lists a number of roles you can register for – including becoming a Steward Volunteer at vaccination centres.
This role involves non-clinical tasks, such as managing arrivals to a vaccination centre or identifying those in line who may need extra support.
Essentially, they’re the people you see wearing high-vis jackets when you go to get your jab, moving things along.
Steward Volunteers are asked to commit to two six-hour shifts per month.
But stewarding isn’t the only way you can help. The NHS is also looking for Patient Transport Volunteers, too.
Put simply, you’ll be helping transfer vulnerable people – but can move around unaided – to GP and hospital appointments, presumably by car.
Other Transport Volunteers simply deliver medical kit, medication and other necessary supplies to practices, pharmacies and hospitals where needed.
Another role, Check In and Chat Volunteers, requires you to make regular calls to those who are lonely or vulnerable.
For this voluntary role, you’ll undergo a background check – and you’ll need to commit to whatever time frame is needed, so not to let down the person or people you speak to.
Interested? Read more about the roles here or register to volunteer here.
Do you need any qualifications to apply?
Not necessarily, if you’re volunteering for a non-clinical role.
You’ll need to be prepared to take a DBS background check – or alert the NHS to any previously unspent convictions.
Depending on the role, you may need a car or a drivers licence. You’ll be asked to provide general information about yourself, too.
Most importantly, you need to be prepared to commit to whatever timescale your chosen role requires.
Aside from volunteer work, anyone who does have medical qualifications and wants to help out could seek paid work as a vaccinator.
Thousands have already been hired – but any future jobs are advertised on the NHS Jobs website.
I don’t have much spare time, but can I still help the NHS?
If you’re keen to help out somehow, but are unable to donate time – there are ways to support the continuing effort.
If you haven’t already, see if you’re eligible to receive the vaccine. If so, book your appointment.
The NHS urges anyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Aside from vaccinations, you could consider donating blood or donating plasma from your blood at one of many dedicated centres.
Hospitals still need to give people blood for a range of conditions and operations – even during Covid. In particular, the NHS site blood.co.uk highlights a need for male donors, black donors and donors with the blood type O-negative.
Find out more about becoming a blood donor here.
Unfortunately, even though everything is tentatively ‘opening up’, lots of people are still experiencing pandemic-related hardships.
So you could see if there are any community groups or food banks in your local area, calling out for support or donations.
Read your local newspaper to get an idea of local community groups or visit your local council’s website.
Or start by simply Googling ‘food banks near me’.
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Volunteers’ Week takes place 1-7 June and highlights the amazing ways people can give back and help others. To get involved click here.
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Author: Elizabeth Atkin