Tens of thousands of vaccine volunteers have been praised for their “amazing” work in giving up around two million hours of their time to help with the jabs rollout throughout 2021.
A woman who translated crucial health messages into Punjabi to reach more communities, and a man who was stationed at vaccine sites including Wembley Stadium and the London Science Museum are among more than 100,000 people who donated their time in the past year.
NHS England said volunteers who worked alongside healthcare staff had helped especially in facilitating the ramped-up rollout of jabs and boosters in December.
Paid vaccination roles have seen 17,500 people register their interest so far as the health service launched a recruitment drive in the face of the spread of the Omicron variant, NHS England said.
A further 48,000 people have registered as steward volunteers through the NHS Volunteer Responders programme in just over a month – of which more than 10,000 have already deployed.
Working alongside the NHS, St John Ambulance has seen 17,000 people come forward to do shifts as volunteer vaccinators.
NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said the efforts of volunteers would “undoubtedly help to save many more lives”.
I’m sure the nation will join me in paying tribute to these amazing volunteers, whose efforts will undoubtedly help to save many more lives
NHS England boss Amanda Pritchard
She said: “Alongside NHS staff, our selfless volunteers have worked tirelessly to protect the nation – in football stadiums, shopping centres, Christmas markets and countless other vaccination sites up and down the country.
“I want to give my personal thanks to everyone who has given up their time to help us beat record after record – continuing to make the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme the biggest and most successful in health service history.
“I’m sure the nation will join me in paying tribute to these amazing volunteers, whose efforts will undoubtedly help to save many more lives.”