In order to address the coronavirus pandemic and strengthen public health efforts, the coronavirus vaccine must be safely accessible to everyone, regardless of immigration status, ID or proof of address.
The Government has stated that everyone is able to access the coronavirus vaccine, but in practice, people are being asked for ID, are unable to register with a GP, and are afraid to access services because of longstanding and entrenched barriers to healthcare.
Without further action, the pandemic will continue to have a disproportionate impact on all marginalised groups, including migrant communities, people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, and BME communities.
We therefore call on the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure the vaccine programme works for everyone, and seeks to address the specific barriers faced by these communities in line with calls from the JCVI.
The Department of Health and Social Care must:
Guarantee a firewall that prevents any patient information gathered by the NHS or Test and Trace being used for the purposes of immigration enforcement.
End all Hostile Environment measures in the NHS, including charging for migrants, to combat the fear and mistrust these policies have created.
Provide specific support to all GP surgeries to register everyone, including undocumented and under-documented migrants and those without secure accommodation, and ensure that all other routes to vaccination are accessible to everyone.
Fund a public information campaign to ensure that communities impacted by the Hostile Environment are aware of their right to access the vaccine and the steps taken above.
Organisations that have signed the call: