How do I volunteer to give Covid booster jabs? NHS calls for help with vaccines and at vaccination centres

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The NHS is looking for ‘thousands’ of volunteers, as the booster jab programme is ramped up to tackle the Omicron variant

An urgent appeal has been made for thousands of people to step forward and help with the Covid booster jab programme in a race to counter the new Omicron variant.

Boris Johnson said “tens of thousands” of volunteers were needed as the vaccination programme is ramped up.

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Here we take a look at how to apply to become a volunteer, what jobs are available and why the Government is keen to accelerate the booster programme.

Why is the Government ramping up the booster vaccine programme?

The acceleration of the rollout comes after data suggested that two doses of the vaccine offered only reduced protection against the fast-spreading Omicron strain.

However, a third dose significantly increases the protection provided - by around 70% to 75%.

The Omicron variant is also quickly set to become the dominant Covid strain in the UK, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid warning that it is spreading at a rate “we’ve never seen before”.

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The Health Secretary told MPs in the House of Commons that the variant is causing 200,000 infections per day.

He added that cases of the variant were doubling every two or three days.

Who is eligible for a booster jab in England?

Following an announcement by the Prime Minister on Sunday (12 December), every adult in England is eligible for a third dose by the end of December.

This is a month earlier than previously planned.

People over the age of 30 have been able to book a third dose from Monday (13 December).

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Those aged under 30 will be able to book an appointment online from Wednesday (15 December).

Walk-in centres are also available for people who want to get the jab quickly.

You can book a booster jab two months (61 days) after their second dose.

However, the third jab has to take place three months (91 days) on from their second dose.

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To get an appointment, all eligible people can use the NHS national booking system or attend a nearby walk-in centre.

What Boris Johnson and the NHS have said about the booster volunteer appeal

Mr Johnson said: “As part of our Get Boosted Now vaccination drive we need to increase our jabbing capacity to unprecedented levels.

“But to achieve something on this scale, we need your help.

“So today I’m issuing a call for volunteers to join our national mission to get jabs in arms.

“We need tens of thousands of people to help out, everyone from trained vaccinators to stewards.

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“Many thousands have already given their time but we need you to come forward again, to work alongside our brilliant GPs, doctors, nurses and pharmacists, to deliver jabs and save lives.

“So please come forward if you can.”

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “In the face of the grave threat posed by the new Omicron strain of Covid, the NHS is seeking to offer vaccine booster protection to all eligible adults by the end of the month, a new national mission in which everyone can play their part.

“There is no doubt that our incredible NHS staff will rise to the challenge but we cannot do this alone, we need the support of the public and volunteers to once again support the Covid vaccination programme.”

What Covid booster volunteer jobs are available

The NHS is looking for a range of volunteers from people helping to organise queues to trained vaccinators to administer the jabs.

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There are also opportunities for volunteers to help with food or medication deliveries, lifts to medical appointments or to make “check-in and chat” phone calls.

How to apply to become a Covid booster vaccine volunteer

There are currently almost 3,000 vaccine sites across the country, staffed by over 90,000 volunteers.

After the NHS last week announced a recruitment drive for 10,000 paid vaccinators, 4,500 people have registered their interest while 13,000 have come forward as volunteer stewards.

If you are interested in volunteering and helping the booster rollout, go to the NHS website here for more information.

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