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Homeless People Will Be Prioritised For Covid-19 Vaccine In England

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Homeless People Will Be Prioritised For Covid-19 Vaccine In England

The British government will be prioritising Covid-19 vaccination for England's homeless.

The targeted campaign will ensure those who sleep rough every night will get the jab because they have less regular access to healthcare and are more likely to have undiagnosed health conditions,.

The implementation - which would place the homeless in the same category as adults with underlying health conditions - comes following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the decision would 'save more lives among those most at risk in society' and said it was imperative that no individual was 'left behind' by the Covid vaccine rollout.

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Matt Hancock. Credit: PA
Matt Hancock. Credit: PA

"It's so important that nobody gets left behind in this national effort," he continued.

"We know there are heightened risks for those who sleep rough and today, I have accepted the advice of the independent experts at the JCVI to prioritise those experiencing rough-sleeping or homelessness for vaccination alongside priority group six."

In its letter to the Health Secretary, the JCVI had explained: "Due to current restrictions, many thousands of people who experience rough sleeping have been accommodated in emergency accommodation.

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"This provides a unique opportunity to in-reach vaccination to a population that is otherwise often unable to access basic healthcare."

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Rosanna O'Connor, acting director for health improvement at Public Health England, said: "We welcome this decision of JCVI and are pleased to have supported the committee with the evidence that helped make this decision, which will protect those who are most vulnerable and may be at increased risk of severe illness or death from Covid-19."

Prof Wei Shen Lim, the chair of the JCVI's Covid-19 programme, added of the decision: "The JCVI's advice on Covid-19 vaccine prioritisation was developed with the aim of preventing as many deaths as possible.

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"People experiencing homelessness are likely to have health conditions that put them at higher risk of death from Covid-19.

This specific Covid-19 vaccine rollout priority group is made up of adults between 16 and 65 years old who are in an at-risk group, with all those aged 65 or over in priority group five.

Meanwhile, Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of the homelessness charity Crisis, praised the move, but warned that 'the vaccine will not make homelessness safe'.

"Whether it is living on the streets, or in cars and sheds, or constantly moving between friends' sofas, homelessness is extremely damaging to both your physical and mental health," Sparkes said.

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"We desperately need a plan to ensure everyone has a safe and secure home."

The news comes as the UK recorded 6,753 new coronavirus cases on Thursday (March 12), marking the highest daily figure for almost two weeks, though this could coincide with increased testing as kids head back to school.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: covid, UK News

Jessica Lynch
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