Homeless and rough sleepers in Doncaster to be prioritised for Covid vaccines
Homeless people and rough sleepers in Doncaster will be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccines, Government health chiefs have said.
Alongside those aged 16 to 65 with underlying conditions that put them at increased risk, homeless people and rough sleepers will now be added to the list, says Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
He said the strategy would save more lives among those most at risk in society.
The move came following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Nadhim Zahawi, minister for Covid vaccine deployment, said this was a very challenging period for people who were homeless.
He added: "We know those experiencing rough sleeping or homelessness are not always able to access healthcare routinely, and therefore can often have a range of health issues which can leave them at an increased risk of this virus.
"Following the recommendation by the JCVI, local teams will now be able to prioritise this group for vaccination alongside priority group 6 and make sure fewer people fall seriously ill or die from Covid-19."
In a letter to the health secretary, experts from the JCVI said people experiencing homelessness had a higher risk of poor outcomes from Covid-19 and high rates of other undiagnosed illnesses.
The team added: "Due to current restrictions, many thousands of people who experience rough sleeping have been accommodated in emergency accommodation.
"This provides a unique opportunity to in-reach vaccination to a population that is otherwise often unable to access basic healthcare."
The news comes after it was announced that more than 100,000 people in Doncaster – one third of the town’s population – have now received at least one Covid jab.