Harrogate Labour Party 'applauds' work of NHS staff in vaccination rollout

Harrogate Labour Party has praised the work of NHS staff and volunteers involved with the district's vaccination rollout.

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 3:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th January 2021, 3:45 pm
Chris Watt, vice-chair, Harrogate and Knaresborough Labour Party.

Chris Watt, vice-chair, Harrogate and Knaresborough Labour Party, said: "Harrogate and Knaresborough Labour is pleased that vaccinations are now being rolled out and urge people to take them up when asked to do so by our wonderful NHS.

"The development of these vaccines shows British science at its best. But we will not beat the virus unless we all stick to the rules.

"We applaud the work of all those staff and volunteers who are enabling this to keep us all safe."

Labour's comments came as Usdaw continued to call for key workers in essential retail to be prioritised for vaccination against Covid.

Paddy Lillis, general secretary of Retail trade union Usdaw, the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members, urged the Government to priortise high risk occupations in its vaccination programme.

The Government has previously indicated they are looking at priority for the second phase and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) accepted that occupation is a factor.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons that: “We’ll be looking very carefully at those professions that will need to be prioritised in phase two of the prioritisation programme. We’ll look at, of course, teachers and police and others, but also we will look at shopworkers and we will make those decisions based on the data.”

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary said: "There is an urgent need to prioritise other occupations at greatest risk of infection during the second phase of the rollout.

"According to the Government’s own research, retail is an occupation with an elevated Covid-19 related death rate.

"Close proximity to the public as well as the indoor working environment are factors.

“Retail workers, including grocery delivery drivers, have played a key role in ensuring the country is able to get through the current crisis.

Mr Lillis continued: "From our conversations with employers, we are aware that the sector is currently suffering from incredibly high sickness absence rates as a result of Covid-19.

“So the second phase of the vaccine rollout must reflect the risks linked to occupation. Given the risks involved in their public-facing roles, retail workers should be one of the groups prioritised, so they are able to continue to support their communities throughout the rest of the pandemic.

“We also want other key workers in essential industries like food manufacturing and pharmaceutical distribution to be on the list of prioritisation. They cannot work from home and are at higher risk of infection because of the essential work they do, which should be acknowledged as part of the rollout programme.

“We welcome the early indications that high risk occupations may be prioritised and look forward to entering into discussions with the Government on this issue of great concern to our members.”

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