With today’s news of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 being approved for use, and NHS staff being high on the priority list to receive the vaccine potentially as early as next week, 2021 will be looking up for workforce leaders across the UK.
After almost a year of uncertainty, self-isolation, sickness and loss, the potential to start returning to life as we knew it will be a welcome change for HR teams and workforce management.
As reported in the HSJ today, it will be those NHS staff at greater risk of harm themselves from COVID-19 who will be the priority for receiving the vaccine.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said: “The JCVI has advised that there are certain frontline healthcare and social care workers who should be offered higher priority.
“And these are based around their own personal risk of coming to harm or having severe illness from COVID-19, secondly the amount of exposure that they have to people who have COVID-19 themselves, and thirdly the amount of interaction they have with different people who are vulnerable and who might acquire COVID-19.”
If this advice is taken up, it will be of great relief to frontline staff who have spent much of their year worrying for their own health, as well as that of colleagues and loved ones. Whilst for workforce leaders, an effective vaccination programme would allow workforce planning to resume without the burden of sickness, exposure and self-isolation.
Judith Shaw, Managing Direction of Liaison Workforce, said: “The potential for the new vaccine to begin rolling out as early as next week is very exciting, as is the thought that NHS workforces will be protected from this terrible illness whilst doing their jobs. We will continue to do all that we can to help NHS organisations manage the rollout of the vaccine and ongoing workforce planning, and will be available to support their needs and challenges as we, hopefully, come closer to the end of the pandemic.”
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