Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition Make prison staff top priority as key workers to recieve the covid 19 vaccine

Prison staff are not even on the list to recieve the vaccine let alone top priority! How will the virus stop coming into the hmps unless staff are vaccinated? Prisoners are now rountinely tested for covid upon entering a hmp but as far as staff go its not mandatory to betested. The vaccine is needed

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I want prison staff to made a top priority in having the covid vaccine to help stop the transmission of covid in the prisons

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Government responded

This response was given on 16 February 2021

The government is working hard to ensure all who are prioritised during phase one receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the appropriate time. There are no plans to deviate from the advice set out by the JCVI.

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The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent medical and scientific expert body, made up of clinical and scientific experts who provide independent advice to the UK Government on prioritisation in the domestic population for all vaccines. The committee’s membership is made up of practising clinicians and scientists, as well as individuals from academia.

For phase one of the vaccine roll-out, the underlying principles at the forefront of the JCVI advice are to reduce mortality and morbidity, and to protect the NHS and social care systems. Having considered a number of different vaccination strategies, the robust evidence indicates that the best option for preventing mortality in the initial phase of the programme is to directly protect persons most at risk.

Having identified age as being the biggest determining risk factor to increased mortality, COVID-19 vaccinations have been prioritised to care home residents and staff and those over 80, followed by health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors. Further information on prioritisation can be found via the following link in Green Book Chapter 14A: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-the-green-book-chapter-14a

If a prison worker is identified as being in one of the at-risk cohorts as per the JCVI advice [https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation-advice-on-priority-groups-for-covid-19-vaccination-30-december-2020], they will be contacted by the NHS and called forward to receive the vaccination at the appropriate time. It is estimated that when phase one concludes in May 2021, approximately thirty-two million people will have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine.

To enable this to happen, the National Health Service (NHS) has been working alongside its health and social care partners to ensure vaccinations can be administered safely and effectively as part of the largest vaccination programme undertaken in its history. Following months of comprehensive planning, more than 267 hospital hubs, 1,034 GP-led local vaccination services, 194 high street pharmacies and 90 large-scale vaccination centres are currently in operation across England. This has been a monumental effort by all those involved which has allowed over 13 million of the highest priority individuals to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to date.

As the COVID-19 vaccine programme continues to grow, the government continues to follow the scientific and expert advice – this includes clinical, epidemiology and public health. Given the current epidemiological situation, there are currently no plans to deviate from the advice set out by the JCVI and prioritise prison workers during the first phase of deployment unless these individuals are over 50 or have an underlying health condition which places them in priority cohorts 1-9.

Looking ahead, the JCVI continues to collect and analyse data in order to best inform the advice it provides the government, this includes the impact the vaccines have on mortality, morbidity and transmission. Further surveillance, mathematical modelling and scientific input is being led by Public Health England and will inform the next steps going forward in preparation for Phase Two of the COVID-19 Vaccine programme, due to commence in May 2021. The Department of Health and Social Care is working closely with the NHS, independent experts and other partners to best implement this.

The safety of staff and prisoners in the secure and detained estate is an absolute priority of this government. Whilst vaccinations have now begun in these settings in line with the JCVI advice, prisons have also been working alongside public health and NHS services to best implement COVID-19 secure practises. This includes ensuring hand washing facilities are readily available to all prisoners, staff and visitors, changing their regimes to limit contact, as well as having procedures in place to manage outbreaks and possible staff absences. At the same time, a comprehensive testing programme is also underway in prisons with the sole aim of breaking the chains of transmission.

Department of Health and Social Care

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