18 November 2020: St John Ambulance will support NHS staff in delivering the COVID-19 vaccination programme across England. 

During the pandemic, St John volunteers have already given hundreds of thousands of hours of their time, supporting the NHS in caring for patients on board ambulances, in hospitals and as part of vital community projects such as this year’s seasonal flu vaccinations. 

St John Ambulance vaccination programme

All of that work continues and the charity has now been tasked with getting thousands of volunteers ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available. 

St John Ambulance’s Chief Operating Officer, Richard Lee said: “We are proud to have been asked to lead the voluntary sector’s contribution in helping the NHS deliver its mass vaccination programme. 

“This new agreement highlights just how much respect our charity has won during our ongoing response to the pandemic, as the nation’s health reserve and a trusted partner to the NHS.  

“St John people are best known for helping the events that bring communities together happen – everything from football matches to firework displays. Like everyone else, we are keen to get back to normal and mass vaccination is a vital way of making that happen.” 

Richard Lee

St John Ambulance’s role includes working with other voluntary organisations to source vaccinators within the revised Human Medicines Regulations set out by Government, last month, along with patient advocates and first aiders at vaccination sites. 

Richard Lee continued: “Between now and spring 2021, we have plans to train more than 30,000 volunteers, using our longstanding expertise in empowering people with lifesaving clinical skills and the confidence to use them, every day.  

“We have started upskilling our first aid trained volunteers and staff for this new work. More than 2,000 St John volunteers have signed up for this programme in just over a week, and we will be working on targeted recruitment to grow our capacity across a range of clinical and supporting roles, with the first cohort ready by December 1.”

All volunteers will meet strict selection criteria and receive appropriate clinical training, including official courses developed in partnership with and approved by NHS England. Volunteer vaccinators will be supervised by clinicians, and all volunteers will be given appropriate PPE. 

A note on St John Ambulance’s vaccination volunteer recruitment

St John Ambulance has been saving lives for over 140 years, thanks to the public’s support. We are currently working through our charity’s existing networks to sign up vaccination volunteers. Whilst we aren’t opening recruitment to members of the public more widely at this stage, there are other ways you can support the nation’s leading health charity including by learning vital first aid, volunteering in other roles or making a donation in support of our wider work.