500 West Yorkshire Police officers receive 'spare' Covid-19 vaccine as pressure mounts on Government to prioritise emergency workers
Around 500 police officers and staff from West Yorkshire Police have received "spare" Covid-19 vaccines it has been revealed, as pressure grows on the Government to make sure frontline emergency workers are a priority in the injection roll-out.
Craig Grandison, vice chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation revealed the news, as the Home Secretary told police chiefs to "get ready" for officers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
Priti Patel said the Government is "working to achieve" vaccine priority for police officers, but did not say when this would start to take place.
Mr Grandison said: “Whist I appreciate this may not be simple, police officers are but a small number of 130,000 in a population of over 65 million and prioritising those cannot be that difficult.
"We are the ones that face the public day by day, we are the ones that go forward when no one else can do, we deal with those that deny the very existence of the virus the country is battling
“In West Yorkshire we are lucky to have good relationships with our NHS partners, and with the support of our Chief Constable, over 500 of our officers and staff have so far received 'spare' vaccines at short notice.
“If this system was replicated across all parts of the country, I’m sure many more officers could be vaccinated very quickly."
The Home Secretary said she would like to see police officers, firefighters and teachers prioritised for the Covid-19 injection, but that it was "complicated".
She said: “There is a lot of work taking place. You know my passion for police officers and it's not just police officers, it's fire officers as well. They are all on the front line, enforcing coronavirus legislation.
“We have the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation that are working with us on making sure we can push police officers, fire, teachers and others on the front line when it comes to getting the vaccine.
“I have also been very clear to the National Police Chief's Council and the Met Commissioner that they should start getting their policing plans ready so that when we get the green light on vaccines roll out, they prioritise their front line officers and staff to go for the vaccine programme because this is a massive logistical task. So we have asked them to get ready because I am working with the Health Secretary who is supporting me 100 per cent on this."