St John prepares for COVID-19 vaccination programme

St John Ambulance will support National Health Service staff in delivering the COVID-19 vaccination programme across England.

During the pandemic, St John volunteers have already supported the NHS in caring for patients on board ambulances, in hospitals and as part of vital community projects such as this year’s seasonal flu vaccinations.

This work continues, and the charity has now been tasked with getting volunteers ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available. 

We are proud to have been asked to lead the voluntary sector’s contribution in helping the NHS deliver its mass vaccination programme. This new agreement highlights just how much respect our charity has won during our ongoing response to the pandemic, as the nation’s health reserve and a trusted partner to the NHS.”

– Richard Lee, St John Ambulance’s Chief Operating Officer


“St John people are best known for helping the events that bring communities together happen – everything from football matches to firework displays. Like everyone else, we are keen to get back to normal, and mass vaccination is a vital way of making that happen.”

The role of our English member includes working with other voluntary organisations to source vaccinators within the revised Human Medicines Regulations set out by the  Government, last month, along with patient advocates and first aiders at vaccination sites. 

Richard Lee continued: “Between now and spring 2021, we have plans to train more than 30,000 volunteers, using our longstanding expertise in empowering people with lifesaving clinical skills and the confidence to use them, every day.  

“We have started upskilling our first aid trained volunteers and staff for this new work. More than 2,000 St John volunteers have signed up for this programme in just over a week, and we will be working on targeted recruitment to grow our capacity across a range of clinical and supporting roles, with the first cohort ready by December.”

All volunteers will meet strict selection criteria and receive appropriate clinical training, including official courses developed in partnership with and approved by Public Health England. Clinicians will supervise volunteer vaccinators, and all volunteers will be given appropriate personal protective equipment.