Cumbria Police Federation

Home Secretary tells police chiefs to "get ready" for officers to receive vaccine

20 January 2021

The Home Secretary has told police chiefs to “get ready” for officers to receive the Covid vaccine.

The Government is “working to achieve” vaccine priority for police officers, Priti Patel told LBC this morning (20 January) - although she did not say when this would start to take place.

She said she would like to see police officers, firefighters and teachers prioritised for the Covid jab, but that it was "complicated".

She said: “There is a lot of work taking place. You know my passion for police officers and its not just police officers, its fire officers as well. They are all on the front line, enforcing coronavirus legislation.

“We have the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation that are working with us on making sure we can push police officers, fire, teachers and others on the front line when it comes to getting the vaccine.

“I have also been very clear to the National Police Chiefs Council and the Met Commissioner that they should start getting their policing plans ready so that when we get the green light on vaccines roll out, they prioritise their front line officers and staff to go for the vaccine programme because this is a massive logistical task. So we have asked them to get ready because I am working with [Health Secretary] Matt Hancock who is supporting me 100 per cent on this.”

Paul Williams, Chairman of Cumbria Police Federation, said: “I’m pleased to hear that frontline officers and other key workers are being considered for the vaccine in due course.

“It is understandable that priority should have initially gone to the vulnerable groups and the NHS and we fully support that.

“There has rightly been a push from the Police Federation to ensure that our frontline cops are supported at Government level and recognition must be given to police remembering the dangers and high risk of exposure to the virus.”

He added: “There are a number of key workers who all deserve protecting however policing is a unique role. It is confrontational and physical contact is inevitable some of which is violent.

“It is vitally important that policing remains sustainable to keep the public safe and deal with high demand in such unpredictable times. A vaccine would surely contribute to this sustainability as well as help protect the public and the families of our members.”

When asked what preventing police officers from being prioritised for the vaccine, Ms Patel said: “We have a Vaccine Delivery Plan which was published last week that focuses on those who are susceptible to dying from Covid first of all, which is the over 80s, and they have been and are the priority group. But within that plan there will be the frontline workers which we are speaking about and Matt Hancock, I, [Vaccines Minister] Nadhim Zahawi, have been very clear about that. We are working to achieve that and I have been saying to policing partners in particular, get ready, because I can’t just say you are being prioritised and they are not ready.”

She said that the plan was “complicated for a range of reasons, not just logistics.”

Ms Patel added: “But the prioritisation is for members of the British public that would die if they do not get access to the vaccine. This is all about saving lives and protecting the NHS. There is a lot of work in terms of how we prioritise vaccines.”

To hear the interview in full, go to: