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England’s chief nurse urges former staff to deliver Covid boosters

Covid vaccination

The chief nurse for England is urging former and student nurses to enlist in the Covid-19 vaccine programme to help deliver booster shots amid surging Omicron cases.

Ruth May, who also called on medical students and other retired healthcare professionals to join the vaccine team, said NHS staff and volunteers are ‘going full throttle’ to deliver Covid vaccinations in the ’biggest and fastest’ programme in the history of the health service.

But she warned Omicron ‘poses a grave threat’ and urged ‘past and future generations of NHS staff, along with the public, to play their part in this Herculean task’.

She added: ‘So thank you to the thousands of former staff who have heeded the NHS’s call and if you are thinking of getting involved please do not delay, sign up today and help the country to get boosted now.’

Ms May has also joined the vaccination effort in her free time, sharing photos on Twitter of her helping to deliver the programme.

On 18 December, the latest data available, a record-breaking 904,598 booster vaccinations were given in the UK – up from 530,086 the previous Saturday. And 906,656 vaccine doses were given in total, including first and second jabs. The NHS has now boosted nearly 23 million people in England.

Existing NHS staff are also being redeployed so that they can focus on protecting the entire country as quickly as possible, said NHS England.

This comes as nurses and other vaccinators have been told to deliver a million booster Covid vaccinations a day after the Government said all over-18s must be offered one by 31 December.

NHS England told general practices in a letter on 12 December that they will be asked to ‘clinically prioritise’ and ‘free up maximal capacity’ for Covid booster jabs, but must also continue to deliver ‘critical appointments such as cancer, urgent and emergency care’.  


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