Concern in South Yorkshire over 'utter betrayal' of police officers in Covid jabs priority list
Concern has been expressed in South Yorkshire over the ‘utter betrayal’ of police officers who have not been given Covid jabs as a priority.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation announced phase two of its Coronavirus vaccination programme last week and did not include any priority provision for police officers.
Mass vaccination targeting occupational groups has been deemed to be too complex to deliver and there are fears it may slow down the vaccine programme.
Instead, jabs will be administered on an age group basis, with those aged 40-49 first.
Under the vaccine roll-out programme, some prisoners will get their jabs before some police officers in line with when they would have got them had they been out in the community.
The chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, branded the move ‘a deep and damaging betrayal that will not be forgotten’.
Steve Kent, the chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said: “If this happens and prisoners across the board, and not just those subject to clinical vulnerability - which is a different argument - get the vaccine before our officers and staff then that would be an unforgivable and unacceptable situation.”
Mr Apter, said: “This announcement shows a complete lack of understanding about policing this pandemic and is an utter betrayal of police officers. My colleagues have been on the frontline since the first national lockdown last March, risking infection and even death to keep the public safe.
“Together with others across policing, we have never said police officers should jump the queue but should be prioritised. It’s right that the most vulnerable and health and care workers were vaccinated; but what about police officers who cannot mitigate against the risks of contracting and spreading this deadly virus? Yet the calls to prioritise policing have been ignored.
“The very nature of policing is unpredictable and means my colleagues often cannot socially distance. They are going into people’s homes, going into hospitals, and having to get up close and personal when helping people or making an arrest.
“Giving police officers the vaccine would not only protect them and their families but also help prevent the spread of this virus.”