Older woman receiving a vaccine jab

UK publishes new vaccine uptake plan to ensure equal access for all

In an effort to increase transparency over how the Government and NHS England are partnering with organisations to increase uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine, and ensure equal access for all, they have published their Covid-19 vaccination uptake plan.

The NHS and government officials will work alongside directors of public health, charities and the faith sector to increase vaccine uptake.

Evidence from the rollout so far has shown the vital role of health and social care staff and community leaders who are providing advice and information for their local communities.

Newly-published data showed comparable vaccine programmes achieved a 75% uptake rate. So far, the Covid-19 vaccination programme has exceeded expectations, seeing 93% uptake in those over 75 years of age.

Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “We have seen an incredible response so far from the public to the vaccination programme and are on track to offer everyone in the top priority groups a jab by 15 February.

“We recognise that some groups feel more hesitant about getting a jab, or have more barriers, both physical and mental, preventing them from accessing one when it’s offered.

“Each shot in the arm brings us closer to beating this terrible virus. That’s why we are setting out our plan to make sure everyone is protected equally, by working hand in hand with those who know their communities best to make sure as many people as possible take up the offer of a lifesaving vaccination.”

The plan highlights a number of different initiatives and actions being carried out, both at national and local levels, to ensure equal access to information and vaccines for people from all backgrounds and circumstances.

Significant efforts have been made around the country to ensure those from specific, at-risk groups such as those with mental illness or without a fixed address can access the information and advice, they need to make a decision on taking up the vaccination.

Similarly, work is underway to reach more hesitant audiences, including translating vaccine resources into over 13 languages, with the new vaccination uptake plan aimed at furthering this work and raising awareness of how the NHS is making vaccination accessible to all, including ethnic minorities, homeless people, asylum seekers and those with disabilities.

Community leaders are being urged to make clear that an NHS number is not needed to get a jab and that there are a large number of vaccination sites spread right across the country that people can go to.

Over 98% of the UK population now lives within 10 miles of a vaccination site.

Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch added: “Covid-19 affects everyone, whatever their background.

“Life-saving vaccines need the trust and confidence of every community to protect us all from the virus.

“That is why the government is working with local figures, faith leaders, and doctors to combat misinformation and encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”

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