Workforce and facilities
The NHS and administering workforce has been the key factor in our successful delivery of the COVID-19 and seasonal flu vaccination programmes. Without the skills and training of these colleagues none of this would have been possible; and through their dedication and sacrifice they have saved lives.
We have worked closely with workforce organisations including Health Boards, NHS Education for Scotland (NES), NHS National Services Scotland (NSS), and Public Heath Scotland (PHS), to build a workforce to successfully meet the increased demands of the ongoing vaccination programme. We are working with Health Boards to ensure that they are supported in the delivery of all immunisation programmes in the Scottish schedule, which will be important over the autumn and winter.
The capacity required to deliver in excess of 200,000 attended appointments per week could require a workforce of around 850 to 1,100 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) vaccinators over the course of a typical week. There will likely be more people working as vaccinators during this programme, dependent on the proportion of full-time staff versus part-time staff.
Ongoing training is an important component of our safe delivery of this programme, and we have engaged with Health Boards to ensure vaccinators are sufficiently equipped to deliver the vaccines available for this autumn and winter. NHS Education for Scotland (NES) provide support with this, and continue to review this support offered to vaccinators. This ensures the safe and effective delivery of vaccinations.
NHS Boards continue to facilitate vaccination delivery through securing sustainable long-term facilities as we move to an endemic response. Large-scale venues (e.g. Louisa Jordan, Glasgow) and certain clinical settings (e.g. General Practices) will no longer be utilised for delivery this year. Clinics have been established based upon experience gained from the programme thus far, with accessibility and equity of access paramount. The facilities available at each venue can be viewed when booking or amending an appointment.
Given the evolving nature of the pandemic, it is essential that we remain flexible and responsive given this is a highly fluid and dynamic environment. Rapid vaccine response measures, such as a surge in vaccination, may be required should there be substantial changes in population immunity against the dominant circulating variant, including any new variant of concern. This is something that has formed part of our surge planning, and we continue to work with Health Boards to prepare for any sudden changes to advice if required.
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