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FE and Education Sector Response to the Covid-19 Vaccine delivery plan

Covid vaccine

The government has launched the Vaccine delivery plan against the fight against Coronavirus. So we asked the FE Sector for their response and views on the Vaccine delivery plan.

Highlights of the Covid-19 Vaccine Delivery plan are

  • At least 2 million vaccinations per week with over 2,700 vaccine sites across the UK
  • Over 200,000 offers of non-clinical support from the public and leading UK businesses to help with the logistics of the programme

Tens of millions of people will be immunised by the spring at over 2,700 vaccination sites across the UK, the government has announced today as part of comprehensive plans to rapidly scale up the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan sets out how the government will work with the NHS, devolved administrations, local councils and the armed forces to deliver the largest vaccination programme in British history.

By the end of January, everyone in England will be within 10 miles of a vaccination site or, for a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccine will be brought to them via mobile teams. There will also be capacity to deliver at least 2 million vaccinations in England per week by the end of January and all residents and staff in over 10,000 care homes across the country will be offered a vaccine by the end of the month.

This will be made possible by the rapid expansion of the programme, including:

  • 206 active hospital sites
  • 50 vaccination centres
  • around 1,200 local vaccination sites – including primary care networks, community pharmacy sites and mobile teams

This will mean every at-risk person has easy access to a vaccination centre, regardless of where they live.

The expansion of the programme will also mean all adults will be offered a vaccine by the autumn.

The government and the NHS have also mobilised a workforce of over 80,000 health professionals to help in the delivery of the programme across the different vaccination sites, with over 200,000 additional members of the public expressing their interest in helping with the non-clinical elements of the rollout such as administrative support, logistics, stewards and first aiders.

All offers of support have been recorded and individuals will be contacted when they’re needed.

Matthew Hancock 100x100Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“It’s taken a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to make such an incredible start to this ambitious deployment programme. Our vaccine deployment plan sets out exactly how we will harness these efforts to expand the programme quickly and safely.

“Our UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan maps our route back to normality, but it does not mean we can be complacent and it is mission critical that everybody abides by the restrictions in the coming weeks.

“The next few months will present a significant opportunity to turn the tide of battle against COVID – I am looking forward to watching these plans bring more reassurance and hope back to people’s lives after a difficult year.

The plan is split into 4 main areas:

  • supply – including the development and manufacturing of vaccines, ensuring their safety and effectiveness
  • prioritisation – insight into the first 2 phases of deployment
  • places – ensuring simple, fair and convenient access to vaccinations for the public, regardless of where they live
  • people – mobilising the workforce and providing information on vaccinations to local communities

As set out by the Prime Minister last week, the plan also reiterates the commitment to offer the first vaccine dose to all those in the top 4 priority groups recommended by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) by 15 February. With these groups accounting for 88% of COVID-19 fatalities, the move will prevent thousands of deaths once their immunity develops in 14 days.

This would account for almost half of the priority groups in phase one, with all 9 high-risk groups for phase one of the programme being vaccinated by spring. Phase 2 will look at the best tactics for achieving protection for the whole UK population, and may include vaccination of those at high risk of catching COVID-19 or delivering key public services. The JCVI will consider all available evidence for phase 2 recommendations of the vaccination programme.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

“This historic vaccination programme is a truly national effort and shows the whole of the UK coming together to quickly and effectively protect the British public against this terrible virus.

“It’s fantastic to see so many people stepping forward to help out, and I encourage businesses, wherever possible, to allow their staff time and scope to volunteer. This is the greatest logistical challenge of our time and we must all play our part.

Public Health England (PHE) is also publishing the surveillance strategy for the COVID-19 vaccine programme which sets out how data from surveillance is used to analyse vaccine effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 and severe disease, as well as the impact of the vaccination programme on the population as a whole.

Over 2 million people in the UK have now been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines since the vaccination programme began.

Through the Vaccines Taskforce, the UK has secured early access to 367 million doses of 7 of the most promising vaccines so far. To date, the government has invested over £230 million into manufacturing a successful vaccine. In the Chancellor’s Spending Review, published on 25 November, it was announced that the government has made more than £6 billion available to develop and procure successful vaccines.

Nadhim 100x100Minister for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, said:

“The UK vaccines delivery plan is a culmination of all our hard work so far, and sets some very promising and challenging ambitions for the next few months.

“I have every faith the NHS will rise to the task and meet these ambitions, providing thousands of vulnerable and at risk individuals that crucial extra protection they need.

Interim Chair of the government’s Vaccines Taskforce, Clive Dix, said:

“We have worked at unprecedented pace and scale to ensure Britain receives vaccines that meet strict safety standards as quickly as possible.

“The UK has led the world in procuring, authorising and deploying vaccines and I am confident that, working closely with manufacturers, we are ready and able to meet the government’s target for vaccinations.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said:

“NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to make such a strong start to the biggest vaccination programme in our history – this is thanks to the exceptional efforts of countless people across the country, who have also been treating record numbers of people with COVID-19.

“We are accelerating the number of vaccinations we can do over the coming weeks, in line with supply, and have this week opened even more centres, to allow us to vaccinate even more vulnerable people against the virus.

FE and Education Sector Response to the Covid-19 Vaccine delivery plan

 david hughes 100 x100David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“The government rightly wants to reopen education settings as a national priority as soon as it is safe to do so. One step that would help achieve that is to include teachers and college staff as priorities in phase two of the programme. Prioritising vaccination for education staff, combined with mass testing and all of the measures colleges are taking will be a sure way reduce transmissions and remove any further disruption to students’ learning.” 

Jane Hickie 20Dec 100x100Association of Employment and Learning Providers managing director Jane Hickie said

“Training centres for apprentices opened on 4 January for their block release training, but no asymptomatic testing for the virus was made available for them or provider staff.  The issue is also very pertinent to other forms of training such as residential and specialist provision. 

“Moreover ITPs have 32,000 young people on study programmes and traineeships.  The DfE should make arrangements for testing to become available for providers and their learners when or where learning can take place.”

Sam Parrett 100x100Dr Sam Parrett OBE, CEO London South East Colleges said:

“Colleges have a vital role to play in the coming weeks as the Government rolls out the biggest immunisation programme ever seen. 

“Here at London South East Colleges, we are supporting this national effort by partnering with our local NHS Trust (Oxleas) to help them recruit the thousands of people need to deliver the vaccine to our communities. 

“Our role is to provide essential training to candidates, preparing them to enter the NHS recruitment process as well as supporting experienced staff already working in the NHS. A huge number of roles need to be filled –from clinical staff to deliver the vaccine, through to administration support and customer service roles. 

“For people with no previous healthcare experience, an entry to employment package – the “Get Ready” programme – has been developed by Oxleas and the College. This will provide participants with the skills, knowledge and behaviours to support them to access the job opportunities generated by the vaccination programme; laying the foundation for an exciting career within the NHS. 

“This partnership is an important example of the role colleges are taking to support their wider communities during these challenging times. Providing training to help people achieve fulfilling and exciting careers in sectors with expanding skills gaps is key to economic recovery – and in the case of our work with Oxleas – provides a very real health benefit for so many people.” 

Matthew Fell 100x100Matthew Fell, CBI UK Chief Policy Director said:

“The launch of the Vaccine Delivery Plan is a crucial step in the fight against coronavirus. Rapid roll-out of this ambitious programme will be crucial for business survival and getting the economy fully operational.

“Firms will be eager to hear more on the detailed plans for the next phase of the roll out – beyond the elderly and other priority groups – and these will need spelling out sooner rather than later.

“Throughout the pandemic, business has stepped up at the service of the nation. It can do so again. The country needs an army of volunteers to deliver the vaccine programme, so where they can, firms should strive to make it easy for staff who wish to help.

“This won’t always be possible, of course, but businesses should be as accommodating as they can. And flexibility will be key when the time comes for staff to receive the vaccine.

“Businesses are committed to protecting their staff and customers. The vaccine roll-out is no exception. Companies want to help the Government in whatever way they can.”

LGA responds to vaccine delivery plan and first daily uptake figures

Responding to the publication of the Government’s vaccine delivery plan and first daily figures of those who have received a coronavirus vaccine, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“Vaccinating as many people as possible is the only certain way we can get through this pandemic and it is inspiring to see so many volunteers offer their help alongside frontline staff up and down the country.

“Councils want to play their full part in the national rollout, but need more information shared with them, to ensure everyone can receive their jab promptly and without delay. This includes granular data at a local authority level – including by age, postcode, ethnicity and gender – so they know who in their communities has had their dose so far and where they need to reach out and improve uptake, as well as information on the rollout across care homes and other care settings in their areas.

“It is also crucial social care staff continue to have equal access to the vaccine with their NHS counterparts, as both are essential frontline workers doing an incredible job in extremely challenging conditions.

“COVID-19 vaccines offer us hope but infection rates remain stubbornly high all over the country and this is translating into unsustainable hospital admissions and, sadly, too many deaths. It is vital that we all follow the rules to bring down transmission as vaccines are rolled out.”

Drivers must also be a priority in nationwide school vaccination drive

Godfrey Ryan, CEO of school transport specialist Kura said: 

“We echo the calls from NASUWT that teachers and education staff must be a vaccination priority to get our children back to school. That said, we cannot forget the need to protect children during every aspect of the school day – which includes the daily school run. Drivers on school coaches and buses have a significant potential exposure risk to COVID-19 due to the number of schoolchildren they mix with each day; acting as a part of dozens of pupils’ “bubble”.

“If urgent action is not taken to protect drivers, and subsequently the pupils they will come into contact with each day, the alternative could be infections once again soaring in schools, students’ educational prospects being further stunted, and society steered right back to square one. Furthermore, the disruption to school transport caused by drivers having to isolate every time their bubble is required to stay at home will simply create further chaos during an extremely challenging time for schools. 

“Another worrying scenario in the event of no vaccinations for drivers would be anxious parents avoiding school transport altogether and taking their children to school in the car. This significantly increases the number of vehicles on the roads and makes the air around our schools, once again, dangerously polluted with toxic car fumes – a concern held by 48% of parents.” 

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