Trade unions have a huge role to play in the campaign to get Britain vaccinated

Steve Jamieson

As chief executive and general secretary of the College of Podiatry and a senior nurse by professional background, I will be volunteering as a vaccinator and a nurse in acute care over the coming weeks. Because the best way to get back towards a normal way of life and to rebuild local economies is to make it safe for everyone to work, socialise and become fully economically active again.

We at the College of Podiatry, a union of professional healthcare workers, believe that the vaccination programme is the most important tool to beat the pandemic. And, as trade unionists, we all have a role to play in getting this important message out there in our workplaces and communities. I wanted to take this chance to support the ‘Let’s Vaccinate Britain’ campaign launched by the trade union movement and Labour Party.

Many members of the College of Podiatry can clinically administer vaccinations. We will support and encourage them to get involved with the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination. It has been difficult to navigate the NHS administration process, something I have raised with the Health Secretary. Thankfully the process is now simpler.

The College of Podiatry has members who live and work in every community in the country. These are committed health professionals and trade union members from both the public and private sectors. Their own families and households are suffering: in a recent survey of our NHS members, 66% of them told us that they live in a household that has taken an economic hit. And we know how many of them work daily with patients and in communities hit hard by the pandemic.

The campaign to get Britain vaccinated is definitely a trade union issue. Over the years, we and other trade unions have played a vital role in our communities in caring, supporting and helping educate our patients, families, clients and neighbours. Trade unions have a huge role to play in bringing people together in a crisis.

I urge all trade unionists to volunteer for the vaccination programme. There is a real need for health professionals like our members to step forward to administer vaccinations. And people with other skills are needed, too, to help manage people when they come to get vaccinated.

I know lots of trade union members already volunteer for good causes, and many people are furloughed at the moment so may have time to volunteer. If you can, I urge you to do so. Our brilliant NHS needs us all. You can find more information from NHS England here.

I know that by working together to beat this pandemic, we can all get back to a new normal sooner – and we can build a fairer, more equal, healthier country. We need to stand up now, together, and get this message across: let’s Vaccinate Britain.

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