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Coronavirus: Vaccination

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 121377, tabled on 26 November 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to prioritise people in (a) care homes and (b) BAME communities in the roll of a covid vaccine.

Answered on

11 March 2021

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI have advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

For the first phase, the JCVI have advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors. Included in this are those with underlying health conditions, including severe and profound learning disability, which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.

There is clear evidence that certain black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups have higher rates of infection, and higher rates of serious disease and mortality. The reasons are multiple and complex.  There is no strong evidence that ethnicity by itself or genetics is the sole explanation for observed differences in rates of severe illness and deaths. What is clear is that certain health conditions are associated with increased risk of serious disease, and these health conditions are often overrepresented in certain BAME groups.  Prioritisation of people with underlying health conditions will also provide for greater vaccination of BAME communities who are disproportionately affected by such health conditions.