Urgent plea for more people to come forward across Hampshire and lsle of Wight to help deliver largest vaccination drive in history

Health leaders today issued a fresh plea for more people to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Hampshire and Isle of Wight as dedicated teams work to ensure everyone receives their booster by the 31 December.

The appeal follows the Government announcement that everyone aged 18 and over will be offered a booster by the end of the year.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme is the largest in the history of the NHS. A key part of its success continues to be the amazing contribution of an army of volunteers, as well as more than 1,000 members of staff across Hampshire and Isle of Wight who have been redeployed, come out of retirement, or given up their spare time to support. A further 500 people have been employed in the NHS locally for the first time, working as vaccinators and administrators.

People from all walks of life have come forward to support the programme in whatever way they could. Their generosity is one of the reasons that across the Hampshire and Isle of Wight footprint, over 3.3m vaccinations have been given to date, A huge thank you everyone who continues to support the delivery of the vaccination programme in our communities.

To meet the latest challenge of the Omicron variant and the need to vaccinate more than 1 million people a day across the country, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 vaccination programme is recruiting to the following roles:

  • Registered healthcare professionals to take consent, undertake clinical assessments, administer vaccines, or act as clinical supervisors. The programme can work with nurses, midwives, doctors, pharmacists, Allied Health Professionals, dental and healthcare scientists.
  • Unregistered vaccinators. These could be people who already work in clinical settings or roles that require advanced first aid qualifications such as Healthcare Support Workers, lifeguards or nursery workers. They will be provided with full training and work under clinical supervision.
  • Administrators to work alongside the vaccinators
  • Volunteer stewards to help patients’ journeys through the vaccination process

Health leaders are especially keen for anyone who has already worked in the programme, particularly in the roles listed above, to come forward and offer their support again. Their prior experience will enable them to get up to speed and support the programme quickly and effectively. 

Dr Matt Nisbet, GP Partner and Clinical Lead of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight we have vaccinated over 3.3million people and we know that eligible people are keen to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We are doing all we can to scale up capacity to achieve this. The support of everyone working in the programme is vital in ensuring we can continue to vaccinate people and protect our families and loved ones.”

Jane Ansell, Senior Responsible Officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “Teams across Hampshire and Isle of Wight continue to do all they can to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and we will be offering greater access to the vaccine in the coming days and weeks. However, this cannot be achieved without the incredible support of our workforce. I would urge anyone who wants to come forward, in whatever capacity they want, to get in contact with their local NHS and find out more about the opportunities available. Thank you to everyone already working with us for all you continue to do to help protect those who are most vulnerable in our communities.

Councillor Karl Love, Cabinet member for public health at Isle of Wight Council said: "We join the call for people to come forward to support the vaccination programme on the Island. It is vital that our community have access to the vaccines and quickly, as winter takes hold and the we witness an increase in COVID-19 cases. From training to administer the vaccine and sharing your administration skills to helping individuals in the vaccination centres, you could make a difference and we urge you to come forward and play a part in boosting the immunity of our community.”

If you are looking for a way to make a difference and want to get involved in the vaccination programme please visit the Hampshire and Isle of Wight health and care website: www.hiowhealthandcare.org/get-involved/hampshire-and-isle-wight-working

Notes to Editors

Please find below a selection of case studies of volunteers. 

Full case studies below:

Becky Willis, Head of Business Services & Data Protection Officer  She said: “I was unfortunately exposed to COVID-19 during Christmas 2020 and tested positive a week later. I had two weeks of feeling poorly with varying symptoms and had two weeks off work.  During this time the news was filled with the rising hospital cases and how support was needed to get the vaccination programme up and running.  I felt very frustrated during those two weeks, not only because I am the most risk adverse person and still got exposed to COVID-19 but having a corporate role did not feel that I was doing my part in this pandemic, and the worst crisis I have come across in my 24 years of working within the NHS. I knew that once I felt better I wanted to volunteer at a vaccination centre.

“I therefore volunteered and was allocated to being a marshal for directing the public from their pre assessment to the next available vaccinator. The vaccination centre at Oakley Road in Southampton, I am sure like others, is run with precision, the flow of public around the ground floor couldn’t work better.  It was such a pleasure to talk to the public, some very anxious about their vaccination, ahead of them going in to receive it.  All were very grateful to the NHS and to those working on the shift for taking the time to support the programme.  It may sound like a very simple job I was given but it was the most rewarding thing I have done in a very long time and would certainly do it again.”

Shirley Winn was a small business owner on the Isle of Wight before the pandemic forced her business to close. She said “Before COVID-19, I had a really successful travel agency and tour operating business on the island. I had to really reinvent myself because I lost my company. I could have gone one of two ways, but I decided to reinvent myself.”

Shirley’s passion and the chance to try something new at the Riverside vaccination centre has led to her deciding to retrain as a nurse so she can continue to support people. Shirley added: “I would never have had the opportunity to follow this path if COVID-19 hadn't come along and destroyed the travel industry. So, I take from this, the fact I've been given new opportunities. As a small child, I always wanted to be a nurse and now I'm going to go for it.”

Support from St Johns Ambulance and Royal Voluntary Service

St Johns Ambulance service have delivered 2,397 shifts in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight since the 01 January 2021 which equates to 14,578 hours of St Johns Ambulance  volunteer time!

The Royal Voluntary Service have delivered 8,983 shifts and 39795 volunteer hours across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

We are incredibly grateful for their continued support, which has made a huge difference to the vaccination programme and our communities across Hampshire and Isle of Wight.