As you undoubtedly already know, the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the greatest public health emergencies in the history of the NHS. The NHS is now looking for individuals who are willing to join the COVID-19 vaccinating team. It is vital that the COVID-19 vaccinator workforce receives comprehensive training and competency assessment so those who receive this vaccine are protected, and public confidence in the vaccine is established and maintained. There are several recommendations for training a workforce who are knowledgeable and able to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine programme confidently, competently, and safely at pace.
I’m sure many of you are wondering how to get involved so here is a blog post aiming to answer your questions about becoming a COVID-19 vaccinator.
Note that whilst there are some common tick-box things which need to be completed (e.g. e-Learning), there might also be some local specific requirements you need to meet - so it is a good idea to clarify and ask wherever you may be applying!
If you are educated to NVQ 3 level in a relevant subject (equivalent to two A levels) or have an equivalent level of qualification and short courses or significant clinical equivalent previous proven experience, you are able to apply to any the following three roles: registered vaccinator, health care professional or clinical supervisor.
However, do not fret if you don't have this level of education! If you have demonstrable and significant work experience in a healthcare setting you are still eligible to apply for a vaccinator role (but not the other two roles outlined above).
Below I have included some of the essentials that need to be completed, however, depending on where you work this may differ slightly.
1. COVID-19 e-Learning programme
This involves a 60-90 minutes session focused on ‘Core Knowledge’. This is then followed by 30 minutes for each vaccine-specific session and after this 15- 30 minutes for knowledge assessments.
This can be accessed on this website: https://portal.e-lfh.org.uk.
2. Immunisation e-Learning programme
This part of the training covers vaccine storage, administration and various legal aspects. Each session is approximately 30 minutes.
Note that: the amount of time it takes to complete the e-Learning programme can be variable depending on your previous knowledge and experience. Those who are more familiar with giving and advising on immunisation will be able to complete it more quickly than those who are new to immunisation.
3. Basic life supportand anaphylaxistraining
4. Any additional statutory and mandatory training required by the employer
This will depend on individual roles, local policy and what has already been completed as part of current role requirements.
5. Face to face training about the COVID-19 vaccine programme
This could include webinars or socially distanced classroom-type training but largely depends on what is being included.
6. Work-based practical trainingand assessment of competency
A period of supervised practice to allow observation of, and development of skills, in vaccine administration and application of knowledge to practice is required.
Supervision for new vaccinators and support for all vaccinators is critical to the safe and successful delivery of the COVID-19 immunisation programme. The supervisor must be a registered, appropriately trained, experienced and knowledgeable practitioner in immunisation.
Again the duration of this is variable - it depends how long it takes until the assessor agrees the vaccinator is competent and confident.
You will likely get introduced to the team and how things work at the clinic. In addition to this, you might learn how to use the computer system and the specific questions which are routinely asked to patients. When you begin vaccinating, you may be supervised at first to ensure you are competent to draw up and administer the dose.
Whether you want to become a vaccinator or volunteer, being a part of the vaccination campaign will be an excellent way to strengthen your medicine application. You will be demonstrating your interest in healthcare as you will be actively working to improve healthcare and public health before you’ve even stepped foot into medicine.
Skills it will help you develop that are relevant to medicine:
Author: Pavan Marwaha and Latifa Haque
Editor: Allegra Wisking