Firefighters from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) will be supporting Sheffield GP practices by delivering COVID-19 vaccines.
This comes just over a month after a number of fire service volunteers were trained up as vaccinators by St John Ambulance, and is part of a huge national effort from fire services across the country to help with the pandemic response.
The agreement – struck by Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson, and leaders at NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group – will see firefighters and fire service support staff giving vaccinations at practices across the city.
Fire and rescue staff have already delivered more than 250,000 vaccines nationally, but local bosses say they are keen to get this number even higher and help protect people across South Yorkshire from the virus.
“Our purpose is to make South Yorkshire safer and stronger, which is why since the start of the pandemic we have stood ready, willing and able to help in any way we can,” said the service’s Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson.
“So far we have delivered food and medicine to isolated people, distributed 1.3 million pieces of PPE to frontline health workers and worked with military planners to identify vaccination sites, but we want to do more.
“That’s why we have supported our staff to get vaccinator training, thanks to St John Ambulance, and why we have offered our help to the CCG in Sheffield.
“The vaccination programme is a huge national effort and, whilst I’m really proud that my staff have stood up and offered to contribute, I’m not at all surprised – as a service we exist to help people in need and that is exactly what we are doing here.”
Alun Windle, Chief Nurse and Covid Vaccination Lead at NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “We are really pleased to have South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service on board helping deliver the vaccination programme in Sheffield.
“Vaccines offer us the best chance of returning to normal and relaxing lockdown restrictions for good, it’s vital we keep on vaccinating people. The support from SYFR will help us reach the target to offer all adults their first vaccination by 31 July.”
The request for support from SYFR came from the CCG at a meeting of the South Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum on Thursday 27 May.
The forum is made up of public agencies from right across South Yorkshire – including fire, police and health services – and members have met every week since the start of the pandemic to co-ordinate the local response.
People aged 30 and over are now being invited for vaccination, if you’re aged 30 and over have yet to have your vaccination you can book online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by contacting 119. If you’re aged over 50, have a long term condition or are a health and social care worker you can also contact your GP to book.
The service’s core 999 response will not be affected by this work.