Thousands of Covid vaccinators take up permanent roles in NHS

·3-min read
Stock image of a hospital  (PA Wire)
Stock image of a hospital (PA Wire)

More than 11,000 people who joined the Covid vaccination programme have taken up permanent roles in the NHS.

Figures show 11,483 people, including former gym managers, chefs and dance teachers, who helped with the vaccine rollout have now started a new career in the health service.

Around 71,000 people took paid roles and thousands more volunteered to help with the programme which has now given more than 120 million doses.

NHS England said the new recruits would help tackle the backlog caused by the pandemic.

It comes as the NHS faces workforce shortages, with huge numbers of vacancies as well as staff absences due to Covid.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS, said: “Not only did these people help deliver the most successful NHS vaccination programme in history, protecting the public against the virus at speed, they are now continuing to help us care for others in various roles across the country.

“From new starters to people who had retired, thousands took up the call to get jabs in arms in their local communities and it is fantastic that more than 11,000 people have decided to stay with us in another capacity, taking on one of the many rewarding roles across the health service.”

People who previously worked as gym managers, dance teachers and even a chef have now joined the NHS workforce after becoming vaccinators.

They have taken up roles in supporting medical teams, boosting patient experience or studying for clinical jobs.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Thanks to the phenomenal efforts of thousands of volunteer vaccinators during the pandemic, we’ve built a wall of defence against the virus and are learning to live with Covid.

“I’m delighted that more than 11,000 former volunteers have been inspired by their experiences to now pursue a rewarding career in the NHS, continuing to make a positive difference to people’s lives every day.”

Among the new recruits is Karen Dear who worked for the vaccine programme after being furloughed from her job as a dance teacher.

Ms Dear is now a ward clerk at Bedford Hospital’s maternity unit.

She said: “When I was furloughed from my job teaching at a dance school, I was eager to do something to help so joined the NHS vaccination programme last January and enjoyed being part of something that made a real difference.

“After a year, I decided I wanted to pursue a long-term career in the NHS so completed my Care Certificate and spoke with the local retention team who opened my eyes to the various roles and opportunities across the health service – now I’m in a new job I love, as a full-time ward clerk at our local maternity unit.”

Kazeem Reaves Odunsi worked as a gym manager before becoming a vaccinator.

Now he is an assistant service manager at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

He said: “By giving someone the vaccine I felt I was helping to improve their quality of life and bring an end to the pandemic.

“Being part of a team that was making history and getting to meet people from a range of backgrounds and cultures, I was really inspired to stay on and start a new career in the NHS.”

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