Unite has called on government and NHS England to set out its strategy for vaccinating all frontline health workers, including security guards and cleaners as well as doctors and nurses.
"Health secretary Matt Hancock; vaccination minister Nadim Zahawi; and NHS England officials need to give clarity to health service staff - not just in London, but across the country - about when they will receive the vaccine and assurance that the second dose will be given to health service staff as soon as possible rather than being told to wait 12 weeks,” said Unite national officer for health, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe.
"A strategy for delivering the vaccine to health service staff and the nation needs to be developed, executed and publicised and should include an almost wartime mobilisation of resources to roll out the vaccination programme as quickly as possible.”
It comes as a third vaccine – the Moderna vaccine – was approved by the UK medicine’s regulator on 8 January. The government has ordered 17 million does of the US-made vaccine, which is 94 per cent effective in preventing Coronavirus.
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said although it was “another important step forward”: “We must remember that while this is a milestone, it does not mean the Covid-19 crisis today is over, especially as a major incident is declared in London, hospitalisations for coronavirus continue to rocket, and as many as 1 in 50 people are now infected.
"The Moderna jab will not be available until Spring, and gives authorities more time to set clear policy for its delivery.
"In the meantime, NHS teams are working exceptionally hard to give the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines to priority groups, and they look forward to greater access to the AstraZeneca vaccine and greater local control over its distribution. It will, however, be weeks and months until the NHS feels the benefit of the vaccination programme.”
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