Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Jane Chiodini, has written to the four Chief Medical Officers of the UK to pledge the support of the faculty’s membership in helping to support the vaccination of the UK population against COVID-19.
The faculty, which is the key representative body for travel medicine specialists, used the letter to highlight the existing vaccination expertise which exists in travel medicine clinics and their staff, all of which could be effectively deployed in support of the forthcoming vaccination efforts.
The full text of the letter to the Chief Medical Officers of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is as follows:
The Faculty of Travel Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has a body of experienced travel medicine practitioners in its membership, including many who work in NHS and private travel clinics.
Three COVID-19 vaccines are likely to become licensed for clinical use in the UK in the next few weeks. Rollout should bring about the greatest population coverage in the shortest possible time frame, if a prompt fall in mortality and morbidity is to be achieved and the UK epidemic is to be rapidly controlled. An unprecedented mobilisation of appropriately trained staff will be required in order to do so. Trained staff must have extensive experience of vaccination, practise informed consent, understand potential adverse effects, apply high standards of record keeping and be able to advise on post-vaccination care.
Travel Clinics’ staff have the experience to facilitate the rapid roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations almost immediately (following vaccine-specific training that the DHSC will be providing). In the context of low current international travel clinic referrals, travel clinic staff also have reserve capacity, skills and adaptable facilities to achieve rapid coverage of COVID-19 vaccination. Many will have the ability to train, mentor and supervise new vaccinators plus highly specialised communication skills with regard to vaccine hesitancy.
The Faculty of Travel Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has recently issued a statement on the operational delivery of travel medicine in the COVID era.
We are highlighting the significant contribution which Travel Clinics’/staff could make to the Health Administrations of the four nations comprising the United Kingdom as they plan their COVID-19 vaccine response.
Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Speaking after publishing the letter, Jane Chiodini said:
“Our faculty’s membership has enormous expertise in safely and efficiently delivering vaccines to the public. That’s why I’ve written to the Chief Medical Officers, to ensure that our collective experience is factored into the planning process which is already underway to vaccinate the UK population. Our Fellows, Members and Associate Members stand ready to do all we can to assist all the UK’s governments with the monumental task that lies ahead.”