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If the public can vaccinate, why not students? Review of a student nurse placement in a mass vaccination centre

07 April 2022
16 min read
Volume 31 · Issue 7

Abstract

Delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine has been made possible in part through the use of mass vaccination centres (MVCs). The primary legal framework underpinning the MVC programme is a national protocol enabling registered and non-registered healthcare workers to contribute to the safe and effective administration of the vaccine. The national protocol provided a vehicle for an innovative supervised student nurse placement within an MVC in south Wales. This placement, for undergraduate pre-registration student nurses, formed part of a service improvement project. Through student feedback prior to, and following, the short placement, the learning was unequivocal in terms of knowledge and skills acquisition related to safe and effective vaccine administration, with students providing clear feedback on the positive nature of the placement experience. A placement within an MVC offers a rich educational experience for student nurses, which as yet appears to be underutilised across the UK.

During December 2019 reports emerged from Wuhan in China of a new respiratory infection. At the end of March 2022, globally, the virus now commonly known as COVID-19, has been responsible for more than 6 million deaths with more than 470 million confirmed cases (World Health Organization (WHO), 2022). Within the UK, the current death toll (deaths with COVID-19 noted on the death certificate), stands at more than 186 000, with more than 20 million confirmed cases (UK Health Security Agency/Gov.UK, 2022). In Wales, more than 7000 deaths and 860 000 known cases have been recorded (Public Health Wales (PHW), 2022).

The impact of COVID-19 across the UK has varied significantly region by region, and across social and occupational groups (Sa, 2020). Increasing age, pre-existing health conditions, obesity, particular ethnicities and sex have been noted risk factors in term of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality (Public Health England (PHE) 2020a; Navaratnam et al, 2021). The incidence and mortality rates of COVID-19 in Wales has been reported daily by PHW and at times also widely reported in the national media (BBC News, 2020). At one point, five areas in south Wales were reported to be in the UK's six most affected regions (Halliday, 2021).

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