8 March 2021
The chair of Derbyshire Police Federation says police forces could administer the Covid-19 vaccine themselves and not impact on the national roll-out.
Tony Wetton says the impact on morale and operational resilience would be “immeasurable” if officers were given access to the vaccine.
In a letter to Sarah Dines, the MP for Derbyshire Dales, Tony outlined how forces could roll-out the vaccine to their own frontline officers and not impact on the national programme.
He said: “With the very reassuring numbers of vaccinations now being delivered every day, the numbers involved - around 100,000 initially to protect those frontline officers having to deal with situations and individuals where they will be exposed to the virus - would seem insignificant.
“Forces could and would quickly and easily deliver on that vaccination of those we ask to put themselves in harm’s way to protect communities.
“The impact in terms of operational resilience, having officers at work in sufficient numbers, morale and officers feeling supported and looked after would be immeasurable. I’m sure you understand that at the moment those officers feel very let down, which is so sad after the efforts they have made since the very start of the pandemic.”
Tony’s suggestion had chimed with Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills who suggested in his reply that a solution would be to try to have vaccines delivered to Force HQ for those officers most at risk.
Tony had previously written to all Derbyshire MPs to ask for their help to get police officers prioritised in the next stage of the jab programme.
Some MPs had indicated that they would be following what the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) decided in terms of the second phase of the roll-out of vaccines. But the JCVI has now ruled out prioritising any group of workers and would instead continue to work through the age groups.
In response to Tony’s letter, Lee Rowley, MP for North East Derbyshire, said he had raised with the clinical commissioning groups (CCG) the issue of “spare” vaccines for frontline workers, including police officers.
Pauline Latham, MP for Mid Derbyshire, thanked officers for their policing of restrictions and lockdowns. She said that she was unable to influence the JCVI but the roll-out was ahead of schedule and she hoped all adults will be vaccinated in the near future.
Amanda Solloway, MP for Derby North, thanked Tony for contacting her and explained that “the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) set the criteria for the cohorts of patients referred for vaccination”.
Heather Wheeler, MP for South Derbyshire, thanked the police for their tremendous hard work and service over the course of the last year. She explained that the Government's priority is to save as many lives as possible, as quickly as possible, while also reducing the hospitalisations that are creating such pressure on the NHS.
She pointed out that police officers will now be vaccinated in line with their age group, saying: “I note your disappointment that spare vaccinations have not yet been re-routed back to police officers after those that are most vulnerable, I believe that the wide groupings now of the next set of bands being invited for vaccine gives real flexibility and in no time at all police officers will be vaccinated.”
Dame Margaret Beckett, the MP for Derby South, said she would write to Matt Hancock, the health secretary, about the issue.