West Yorkshire Police Federations calls for frontline officers to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccine

A police federation chairman has spoken of his 'astonishment' that frontline officers have not yet received the new Covid-19 vaccine.

A Police Federation chair says it is "astonishing" that police officers have not been assigned a priority level for the Covid-19 vaccine

Brian Booth, Chair of West Yorkshire Police Federation, has called for police officers to be prioritised by the Government along with NHS workers for the vaccine.

So far, more than 500,000 people in the UK have received the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination, with the elderly and NHS and care workers top of the priority list for the jab.

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Approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine developed at Oxford is expected after Christmas, medical scientist Professor John Bell claimed today, while Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that vaccinations were now being administered in care homes.

West Yorkshire Police Federation Chair Brian Booth

Mr Booth, however, said there had been "no discussion" around police officers being next in the queue, despite thousands risking their health working on the frontline and coming into contact with members of the public.

“We have heard no mention of police officers being on the list to be vaccinated as soon as possible," he said.

"There’s been no discussion whatsoever around my colleagues. It’s astonishing, and sadly shows what they think of us."

According to the Government, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) “does not advise further prioritisation by occupation during the first phase of the [Vaccination] programme.”

A Police Federation chair says it is "astonishing" that police officers have not been assigned a priority level for the Covid-19 vaccine

It adds: “Occupational prioritisation could form part of a second phase of the programme, which would include healthy individuals from 16 years of age up to 50 years of age, subject to consideration of the latest data on vaccine safety and effectiveness.”

Mr Booth added: “My colleagues have remained at the frontline in the fight against Covid-19. Putting themselves and their families at risk to ensure we try and keep the general public safe. I am dismayed to see that there is no prioritisation in relation to the vaccine being administered.

“Meaning for the vast majority of officers, they are likely to be vaccinated mid next year. In the meantime continuing to police difficult situations where it is not possible to mitigate risk, for example arresting a violent individual.

"No PPE is strong enough to stay in place during a struggle and puts the officer at risk of infection.

“I hope that this is reconsidered by Government, as officers are in the unique position of not being able to control the environment that they work in, this differs greatly to other frontline workers.

"The vaccination will mean our police remain match fit for what they face day to day.”