28 March 2022: St John Ambulance is thanking its vaccination volunteers for giving a million hours of their time and asking them to carry on jabbing.

Since 2020, vaccination has been our most important protection against the virus, reducing the risk of it being spread and limiting the damage it does to our bodies.

To date, thousands of St John vaccination volunteers have helped the NHS give more than 117 million doses of the vaccine in England, including more than 32 million booster and third doses. The health and first aid charity’s contribution is a key part of the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in NHS history.

Now, the St John team is being asked to step up and support the spring booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines for:

  • Adults aged 75 years and over
  • Residents in care homes for older adults
  • Individuals aged 12 years and over who have a weakened immune system

St John Ambulance’s Director of Health & Volunteering Operations, Craig Harman says: “My message to our volunteer vaccinators now is thanks for all that you’ve done; we still need you, so please help wherever you can.

“With spring in the air, the weather turning sunny and many of us enjoying the personal freedoms vaccination has helped restore, anyone could be forgiven for thinking it’s ‘job done’ when it comes to Covid, but the pandemic is not over. Many people are still getting unwell and increasing numbers are ending up in hospital.

“Our volunteers have done amazing things since the first of them started administering vaccinations in January last year – almost a million hours of their time and counting – but we’re asking them to give more of their time and help protect the most vulnerable people in our communities from this pernicious virus.

“The latest UK Health Security Agency data shows that the Covid vaccine has led to more than 157,000 hospitalisations being avoided, and those people aren’t just statistics; they are our family members, friends and colleagues. They are us.

“St John Ambulance is committed to supporting the vaccination programme for the long haul. The least round of boosters will run through spring into the summer and there’s still the offer of a first, second or booster dose; we know that nearly one in five eligible adults have yet to receive their initial booster dose and the NHS is urging them to come forward, for example.

“Our vaccination volunteers are still active in pharmacies and other locations. We will also be going into more care homes and using more of our fleet vehicles to offer mobile vaccinations in the coming weeks and months.

“And the scope of our volunteers’ work has expanded and evolved to match the programme’s needs. Existing vaccinators are training to administer injections to children, and we’re recruiting up to 6,000 new vaccinators to ensure we have a workforce ready and able to support the NHS for the foreseeable future.”

St John recruited and trained almost 30,000 vaccination volunteers – including 20,000 vaccinators - between November 2020 and March 2021. They accounted for three quarters of St John Ambulance’s activity in 2021 and their efforts make up almost a million of the 1.5 million hours St John people have delivered during the charity’s Covid response since March 2020.