More than 27,000 vaccinations have been given to the public by Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) staff, following a drive to assist with the national programme.
This equates to firefighters and other FRS staff administering approximately one in 600 immunisations out of the 16.5 million given to date.
The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has praised this incredible work – as fire service colleagues are administering vaccinations and carrying out other tasks to assist to Covid-19 response, alongside their usual emergency response duties.
Around 70 per cent – or 35 – UK FRSs are now assisting with the vaccination drive and fully trained staff from FRSs are actively giving the vaccinations with more trained to follow. More than 6,000 hours of support has been given.
In total, there are 450 staff acting as vaccinators – with 193 active in the last week, with some services having support staff dedicated to the role fulltime. Additional efforts from services to support the vaccination effort includes logistical support, patient care and assisting on site at vaccination and test centres.
Staff from Shropshire, Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Lancashire, Tyne & Wear and Merseyside FRSs are all currently giving vaccinations – with more set to undertake this vital work.
Chair of NFCC, Roy Wilsher, said: “To see the sheer number of vaccinations and support being given by Fire and Rescue Service staff is amazing.
“We have seen services working tirelessly to set up the sites, assisting with patient care and also administering the vaccines. This doesn’t take into account other work such as services helping deliver and carry out tests in areas where new COVID strains were discovered such as Surrey and Hertfordshire. Firefighters and other FRS staff continue to crew ambulances, deliver PPE and assist with getting items to vulnerable people, to name just a few activities.
“Once again it is evident staff are ready, willing and able to assist where their help is needed. The selfless dedication and determination being shown is second to none, and I am in no doubt the public are proud of their fire and rescue services as they once again step up to play their part; all this whilst workplace absence is incredibly low.”
Lancashire FRS is working alongside its partners to ensure thousands of people are getting their vaccinations, offering assistance at sites and – have assisted in administering over 50,000 vaccinations to those who need them most. More than 220 staff have volunteered to take part.
Nottinghamshire FRS team assisting the vaccinations centres across the county have administered over 10,000 vaccinations, while continuing to support our communities and partners through medical deliveries and befriending calls.
Shropshire FRS has redeployed nearly 200 staff to help roll out the COVID-19 vaccine, consisting of both operational and support teams. This includes training 34 staff as new vaccinators, providing mental health support to front line workers, helping to coordinate teams on site, medical assistance and implementing traffic management plans.
A total of 60 personnel from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight fire services have so far been trained to become vaccinators. While ten firefighters from Hampshire have also joined doctors and nurses to help treat patients with COVID-19.
Tyne and Wear FRS has dedicated more than 1,100 hours of support and 57 staff to support the vaccination programme at Newcastle Racecourse and the Nightingale Hospital in Washington. This ranges from the team giving vaccinations, managing all non-clinical aspects of the centre, playing a critical role in executive decision making, movement of patients through the vaccination pods, resource management, volunteer briefing and welfare arrangements.
More than 150 staff have been trained to assist in both Merseyside and West Midlands FRS. They are also carrying out work, including administration support and delivering the vaccinations – as the programme gathers pace across the country.
Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh added his support: “Our Fire and Rescue Service volunteers have made this extraordinary contribution in helping to administer the vaccine so many people, in turn saving many more. I want to thank them for their efforts.
“Their time and commitment in assisting with the rollout of the vaccination has directly supported our NHS to save lives and protect their local communities. I know our Fire and Rescue Services will continue to step up and do all they can to protect the British public.”
Additional figures from the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) show that since January 25th, more than 15,000 lateral flow tests have been given to staff, which is around 30 per cent of the FRS workforce.
Provided through local arrangements and with added provision from the Department of Health and Social Care – the tests are distributed via NFCC’s National Resilience (NR) function – enhancing the health surveillance of FRS staff, preventing asymptomatic transmission, whilst further enabling them to continue important COVID-related work – including supporting the nationwide vaccination programme.