Published by BBC NEWS - 17th April 2022

NHS vaccinator Tamryn Saby

Image source, NHS England

More than 10,000 people who signed up to help deliver Covid-19 vaccinations have now taken permanent roles with the NHS in England.

About 71,000 people took paid roles and thousands more volunteered to help with the programme which has now given more than 120 million doses.

The 11,483 who have chosen to stay in the NHS include former airline cabin crew members, gym managers and chefs.

NHS England said they would help tackle the backlog caused by the pandemic.

Tamryn Saby worked for an airline for 11 years but decided to volunteer with the vaccine programme in Cambridge and study to become a therapeutic radiographer when she was furloughed.

“I hoped that by getting involved it would help us all return to ‘normal’ sooner, but being part of the vaccine roll-out also helped build my confidence for a career in healthcare, and showed that by working for the NHS you can make a real difference to people’s lives every day,” she said.

And Kazeem Reaves Odunsi, who worked as a gym manager before becoming a vaccinator, said: “I have always loved helping people so the vaccinator role seemed like a good fit and although I don’t have any clinical experience, I received training and was able to use the leadership skills and good customer service that I had learned from my previous jobs.

“By giving someone the vaccine I felt I was helping to improve their quality of life and bring an end to the pandemic.

“Being part of a team that was making history and getting to meet people from a range of backgrounds and cultures, I was really inspired to stay on and start a new career in the NHS.”

He is now working as an assistant service manager at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said it was fantastic that 11,000 people who had helped “deliver the most successful NHS vaccination programme in history” had decided to stay in the health service, while Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he was “delighted”.

The 120 million doses of coronavirus vaccine administered since December 2020 – when Margaret Keenan from Coventry became the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer vaccine – include more than 32 million boosters and 1.4 million spring boosters.

Spring boosters are being offered to people aged 75 and over, residents in care homes and those with weakened immune systems.

And earlier this month the programme opened to all children aged five to 11 years old, who are being offered two low-strength doses of the Pfizer vaccine, at least 12 weeks apart.

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