Over 80,000 health professionals have completed the online Covid vaccination training since its launch on 27 November, the latest figures from Health Education England (HEE) show.
Figures provided to Management in Practice show 90,615 healthcare workers have accessed the e-learning resources to date and 81,673 of those have now completed the training.
A third (32%) of health staff to have completed the training work in nursing and midwifery, 22% are medical and dental professionals, and 8% are students, according to the HEE data.
The Covid-19 vaccination e-learning programme was written by Public Health England (PHE) and consists of core knowledge and vaccine-specific sessions – now on both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines – as well as accompanying assessments.
It is one of several training resources that have been made available to staff.
In its recommendations issued in November, PHE said the following groups needed to be trained:
- experienced and competent vaccinators (both registered Healthcare Practitioners (HCPs) and unregistered Healthcare Support Workers (HCSWs) who have vaccinated within the past 12 months
- registered Healthcare Practitioners (HCPs) who are either new to, or returning to vaccination after a prolonged period
- vaccination support workers (unregistered healthcare workers new to immunisation with a specific role in vaccine administration)
- administrative support staff.
The body also warned that the number of vaccinators required for the programme ‘could exceed’ the number of trained and experienced vaccinators currently giving vaccines – particularly because many will also likely be required to maintain the national immunisation schedule.
It added that it may therefore be necessary to ‘rapidly train people who have not vaccinated for some time or who have not previously given a vaccine’ in order to maximise uptake.
Under the training recommendations, new vaccinators and people returning to vaccination after a prolonged period are also expected to complete a Covid-19 vaccinator competency assessment and receive work-based practical training and ‘supervision until confident’.
Professor Mark Radford, deputy chief nursing officer for England and chief nurse at Health Education England, said: ‘The incredible amount of time our NHS people and PHE have already invested in getting ready for this new and huge challenge is inspirational, and as part of ensuring the NHS can vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, this hard work will continue over the coming weeks and months.’
According to government figures, more than a million people in the UK have already been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
A further 180 GP practice sites and 100 more hospitals were also due to start administering Covid vaccinations this week, joining 730 sites already set up across the UK.
The rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – which was authorised for use by the MHRA on 30 December – started in hospitals on Monday (4 January), with the bulk of supplies expected to be sent to GP-led vaccination sites and care homes later this week.