Boris Johnson has pledged that booster jabs will be offered to all over-18s by the end of this year to tackle the “tidal wave” of Omicron cases.
Long queues have since formed at walk-in vaccination sites, with people waiting for up to five hours to get jabbed – and the NHS website crashing as thousands seek top-up doses.
The PM and the NHS are now appealing for volunteers to step forward to help get people “boosted now” – with hundreds more vaccination sites, mobile units and pop-ups due to open over the coming week.
What are volunteers needed for?
There currently almost 3,000 vaccine sites across the country, staffed by more than 90,000 volunteers.
They range from stewards to organise and manage the queues and registering patients, to trained vaccinators to administer the jabs.
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The NHS has announced a drive to sign up tens of thousands more volunteers to join the 13,000 who have already come forward.
We need thousands of volunteers to support the NHS booster effort.
From managing queues and registering patients, to giving jabs, no contribution is too small.
“We need tens of thousands of people to help out, everyone from trained vaccinators to stewards,” said the prime minister.
“Many thousands have already given their time but we need you to come forward again, to work alongside our brilliant GPs, doctors, nurses and pharmacists, to deliver jabs and save lives.”
NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard has described it as “a new national mission in which everyone can play their part”.
“There is no doubt that our incredible NHS staff will rise to the challenge but we cannot do this alone, we need the support of the public and volunteers to once again support the COVID vaccination programme,” she said.
How can I sign up to volunteer?
The NHS has been working with St John Ambulance and the Royal Voluntary Service, which runs the NHS Volunteer Responder programme, to help coordinate the training and deployment of thousands of volunteers to help with the running of vaccination services.
You can find out about how you can help on the St John Ambulance website.
Stewards are needed in a number of key locations across England.
You can register to be a steward on the NHS website.
To join you must live in England, be over the age of 18 and be able to use a smartphone because tasks are sent directly to your phone through the GoodSAM app.
You must also decide which of the NHS Volunteer Responder roles you are interested in, and be able to go on duty as much as you possibly can.
Those who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 may prefer telephone-based check-in and chat roles.
A list of the roles can be found here.
Those who already work for the NHS and want to volunteer some of their time directly to the vaccination effort can contact the HR team at their nearest NHS trust or their local COVID-19 vaccination team.
There are also opportunities for people who do not work in the NHS but are interested in joining the vaccine team in a paid role.
You can also check if your local council has volunteering opportunities to help with the coronavirus pandemic.