Vaccine volunteers face “overload of bureaucracy” to support roll-out

Volunteer vaccinators are being asked to fulfil numerous training obligations
Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images

Medical professionals such as dentists say they have been unable to offer support to administer coronavirus vaccines due to an “overload of bureaucracy”.

Reports have emerged that potential volunteers have been asked to fill in multiple forms and questionnaires, including providing information on unrelated matters such as fire drills and preventing radicalisation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Andrew Marr programme this weekend that the additional form-filling was “absurd” and that he was working with the Department of Health to reduce the amount of bureaucracy.

The paid vaccinator roles only require healthcare experience, but many volunteers have reported having to upload numerous documents and complete online training modules before they could progress their application.

The checklist to become an NHS vaccinator includes training stipulations such as “moving and handling” and “conflict resolution” alongside other areas such as infection prevention and how to store the vaccines.

One dentist pointed out that the module required on safeguarding children would be irrelevant as children are not currently a priority for vaccination.

Two retired healthcare practitioners told the BBC that they felt they were asked to “jump through 101 hoops” to meet the necessary requirements, despite having already helped to administer the Pfizer vaccine, which was approved last month, to care home residents.

Retired doctors and nurses who have been hoping to assist in the vaccination effort have faced similar hurdles.

Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said bureaucratic barriers needed to be kept to “the bare minimum”.

“Requiring people to submit more than 20 pieces of documentation, some of which have low relevance to the task they will be doing, and some of which some retired medics and returners to the profession won’t even have, is a deterrent for them getting involved at a time when we need all hands on deck,” he said.

The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine began to be administered today, while hundreds of thousands of patients have already received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, but are awaiting confirmation over when they will receive the second.

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