The health service will require up to 30,000 volunteers to take on a range of roles, including delivering the vaccines, supporting roles and helping people who need one-to-one support in the process.
The NHS needs tens of thousands of volunteers to help deliver a Covid-19 vaccine across England once it receives approval.
St John Ambulance is encouraging people to offer their support to the NHS as it prepares to roll out a mass vaccination programme to combat the coronavirus crisis.
Richard Lee, chief operating officer at St Johns Ambulance, said: “We are proud to have been asked to lead the voluntary sector’s contribution in helping the NHS deliver its mass vaccination programme.
“This new agreement highlights just how much respect our charity has won during our ongoing response to the pandemic, as the nation’s health reserve and a trusted partner to the NHS.
“St John people are best known for helping the events that bring communities together happen – everything from football matches to firework displays. Like everyone else, we are keen to get back to normal and mass vaccination is a vital way of making that happen.”
Mr Lee said the charity plans to trains more than 30,000 volunteers between now and next spring to empower people with “lifesaving clinical skills and the confidence to use them”. It has already started “ups killing” its volunteers and staff with first aid training in preparation of the vaccination programme.
“More than 2,000 St John volunteers have signed up for this programme in just over a week, and we will be working on targeted recruitment to grow our capacity across a range of clinical and supporting roles, with the first cohort ready by 1 December,” he added.
The charity has been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to support the NHS and communities, and has been caring for patients on board ambulances and helping in hospitals.
St John has also given its support to community projects, including this year’s seasonal fly vaccinations.
All volunteers delivering the vaccines will be given appropriate training, including clinical training through courses developed by Public Health England, as well as the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).