Volunteers from the local community are being sought to help with the winter Covid and flu vaccination rollout.

With health leaders gearing up to begin the booster jab rollout and encourage those as yet unvaccinated to get their jabs and deliver the flu vaccine, local people are being encouraged to come forward to volunteer their support at the 25 vaccination centres across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Over 2,500 local people have volunteered to help since the vaccination programme began at the end of 2020 but these numbers have slowly decreased as volunteers move on. Health chiefs are looking to find 500 people to help make the winter plan vaccination rollout a success.

“The response we had last year was amazing and the volunteers have been the unsung heroes of the vaccine rollout as they helped local people coming for their jabs and making sure the process was as easy as possible,” said Kevin Allen-Khimani, executive manager at Voluntary Action Leicestershire, who are leading the volunteer recruitment. “The shifts are four hours each and volunteers can do as much or as little as they can.”

The volunteers will support with the smooth flow of patients in vaccination sites and will act as greeters, stewards and chaperones for patients who are arriving to receive their vaccinations.

Stewarding experience is welcome but training will be provided to all volunteers.

In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland over 700,000 people have had their first and second Covid jabs so far.

“Whilst we have been able to get over 700,000 people fully vaccinated, there are still people who have not yet come forward and we would encourage them to do so,” said Caroline Trevithick, executive director of nursing, quality and performance at the Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland CCGs. “The volunteers will make a big difference to the safety of our communities as we move ahead with the booster rollout and ongoing vaccination programme.”

Anyone aged 18 and over can volunteer by contacting Voluntary Action Leicestershire by email on helpline@valonline.org.uk or by calling 0116 257 5050.