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Under 50s to be Vaccinated Based on Age, Not Occupation

Under 50s to be Vaccinated Based on Age, Not Occupation
26 February 2021

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has revealed that under fifties will be vaccinated based on their age, as prioritising according to occupation would be too "complex".

After those in their fifties are called, those in their forties will follow, then those in the thirties and so on.

The committee agreed that mass vaccination targeting occupational groups would be more complex to deliver and may slow down the vaccine programme, leaving some more vulnerable people at higher risk unvaccinated for longer.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, said:

"The evidence is clear that the risk of hospitalisation and death increases with age. The vaccination programme is a huge success and continuing the age-based rollout will provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time, including to those in occupations at a higher risk of exposure."

Groups that have been prioritised so far include residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, and those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers.

This news will come as a blow to groups representing the cleaning and security sectors, who have been calling for priority vaccinations for those providing frontline services. ThisWeekinFM's editorial team recently discussed the issue in their February FM review.


Key Worker Calls for Security and Cleaning Staff


The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) doesn’t currently recognise cleaning or hygiene operatives as key workers in the UK, and therefore this workforce has no priority access to the COVID-19 vaccination. This is one of the main drivers behind the formation of an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The group will represent the interests of the cleaning and hygiene sector in parliament and influence MPs, ministers and government.

The BCC wants the APPG to put the status of the sector’s operatives as key and essential workers, and their priority for COVID-19 vaccination, at the top of its agenda, in recognition of their role fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.


Male Frontline Workers Most at Risk


It was found via Office for National Statistics data earlier in 2020 that there was a high COVID death rate in the security sector.

Nearly two-thirds of COVID deaths up until 20 April 2020 were among men (1,612 deaths), with the rate of death involving COVID-19 being statistically higher in males, with 9.9 deaths per 100,000 compared with 5.2 deaths per 100,000 females (882 deaths).

Compared with the rate among people of the same sex and age in England and Wales, men working in what the report defines as “lowest skilled occupations” had the highest rate of death involving COVID-19, with 21.4 deaths per 100,000 males (225 deaths).

Men working as security guards had one of the highest rates, with 45.7 deaths per 100,000 (63 deaths).

Picture: a photograph of a person in a white coat preparing a syringe 

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 26 February 2021


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