More than 11,000 decide to join NHS after being part of Covid jab team

More than 11,000 people who volunteered or worked with the UK Covid vaccination programme have decided to take up jobs within the NHS, health officials have revealed.

As the Covid pandemic struck, researchers began work on vaccines to tackle the disease, with the first vaccination after emergency use authorisation given in the UK in December 2020.

The jab marked the start of the largest mass vaccination programme in the history of the NHS, with tens of thousands of people taking up paid or volunteer roles to help.

More than 92% of people aged 12 and over in the UK have received a first Covid jab to date, with almost 68% having had three doses.

Now health officials have revealed that 11,483 volunteer vaccinators have decided to start a new career in the NHS, with some studying for clinical roles or others taking up jobs supporting medical teams.

Among them is Chloe Radley, a former makeup artist. She said: “During the first months of the pandemic, I lost the vast majority of my customers and was unable to resume my work so I decided to take the plunge and support our local vaccination programme in an admin role,” she said.

“I immediately fell in love with the job and the team, and when my manager encouraged me to apply for another role in the health service I jumped at the chance – I’m now a patient pathway coordinator and find the work so rewarding.”

Sajid Javid welcomed the figures. “Thanks to the phenomenal efforts of thousands of volunteer vaccinators during the pandemic, we’ve built a wall of defence against the virus and are learning to live with Covid,” said the health secretary.

“I’m delighted that more than 11,000 former volunteers have been inspired by their experiences to now pursue a rewarding career in the NHS, continuing to make a positive difference to people’s lives every day.”

The NHS said those who had chosen to take up positions in the NHS after volunteering with the vaccination programme would help the organisation address the backlog of people requiring care.

Data suggests the number of people waiting to start routine hospital treatment in England is at a record high, at 6.2 million people.

Meanwhile, an analysis of the NHS workforce, excluding those working in primary care, revealed that between September 2020 and September 2021 more than 400 workers in England left the NHS every week because of concerns over work-life balance: a total of 20,834 NHS staff.

Amanda Pritchard, the NHS England chief executive, urged others to also consider joining the NHS:

“From new starters to people who had retired, thousands took up the call to get jabs in arms in their local communities and it is fantastic that more than 11,000 people have decided to stay with us in another capacity, taking on one of the many rewarding roles across the health service,” she said.

“With more than 350 different roles within the NHS – there are roles for everyone so please search NHS careers today, if you are interested in joining us too.”


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