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Seeking your views on the COVID-19 vaccination

Dame Donna Kinnair 27 Jan 2021 Chief Executive and General Secretary

Dame Donna Kinnair updates members on COVID-19 vaccines and research into vaccine update.

The COVID-19 vaccination roll out programme continues to dominate the news headlines. Priority groups, including nursing staff, continue to receive the COVID-19 vaccine across the UK. 

We have an extensive set of online FAQs related to the vaccination programme – these address issues such as changes to the schedule, vaccination and fertility, vaccination in pregnancy and more.

Our website is updated almost daily by Helen Donovan, our Professional Lead for Public Health, in conjunction with members with expertise in, and working on, the COVID-19 vaccination delivery programme. Helen will be co-hosting with Heather Randle, Professional Lead for Primary Care Nursing, a series of online events for members leading vaccination clinics.

Nursing staff, wherever you are working, should take up the opportunity to have the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Having the vaccine will help to protect you from serious illness. If we look to the NMC Code, this advises us that we should take measures to protect our patients and the public, as well as ourselves. However, having any vaccine is an individual’s choice and we don’t believe people should be forced or coerced into having it. 

There are also significant concerns that nursing staff from the wider health and social care system, working outside of hospital or clinical settings and nursing staff working for agencies, are not able to access the vaccine easily. We are running a survey until 2 February to capture member’s ability to access the vaccine, no matter where they work, ahead of the government target of mid-February for all healthcare workers being vaccinated.  

I sit on the NHS Race and Health Observatory board, which brings together experts on health inequalities.  As a group, we have discussed the particular concerns Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups (BAME) groups have in relation to the vaccine. 

I’m proud to say the RCN are collaborating with the Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU), part of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, with the NHS Race and Health Observatory board, to take part in research to better understand the attitudes, experiences and concerns of health and social care workers to the COVID-19 vaccine roll out. The first stage is a survey exploring the views of all health and care staff on COVID-19 vaccination but particularly looking to understand the views from BAME frontline health and social care workers.   

Nursing staff also have a role to play in encouraging vaccine take up in the wider population. Where people have specific concerns or issues, they must be able to access good-quality information so they feel confident to have the vaccine. Use these surveys to share your experiences and concerns so any issues can be raised on your behalf and properly addressed by employers, system leaders and the government. 

You will continue to lead the health care response to COVID-19 and lead the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme roll out.  It is important you feel confident and have any concerns addressed because, as with all vaccine programmes, making sure everyone has access to the vaccine, and having a high uptake, will be essential to its overall success.  

Thank you in advance for taking part in these surveys and sharing your views on this important issue. 

More information  

RCN COVID-19 vaccine survey

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine views and experiences survey.

COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination FAQs.

Dame Donna Kinnair

Dame Donna Kinnair

Chief Executive & General Secretary

Prior to her appointment as Acting Chief Executive & General Secretary, Dame Donna was Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice and worked with UK-wide RCN staff to drive and implement RCN professional nursing, policy and practice strategy.

Before joining the RCN, Donna held various roles, including Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust.
Donna advised the PM’s Commission on the future of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010 and served as nurse/child health assessor to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry.

Page last updated - 29/06/2021