Disgust in South Yorkshire at reports prisoners are to receive Covid jabs before police officers
Disgust has been expressed in South Yorkshire at reports prisoners are to get Covid vaccines before police officers.
The South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation has said if true there could be a ‘bizarre situation’ where a criminal who is jailed for coughing or spitting at a police officer – threatening to infect them with Covid-19 – could get a vaccine for the virus before the police officer they attacked.
According to the most recent Crown Prosecution Service data, assaults on emergency workers were the ‘most common coronavirus-related crime’ between April 1 and September 30, 2020, with charges brought for 1,688 offences.
Many of these involved police officers being coughed and spat on.
However according to a report in The Times newspaper, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said teachers, police and other key workers should not get priority for Covid jabs.
But that prisoners can be vaccinated en masse.
Steve Kent, Chairman of South Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “I am absolutely disgusted by this as I’m sure our officers will be.
“This is another example of the sheer disregard this Government has for its hard working police officers who are at the front line of this pandemic as much as anyone.
“It absolutely defies belief that our officers are falling down the queue below the very people who they put themselves at risk putting in prison in the first place.”
Earlier in February, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told police officers they will have to wait their turn to receive the Covid-19 vaccine – and that they will not be prioritised.
Despite lobbying from the Police Federation, Chief Police Officers, the Met Commissioner and the College of Policing over police officers needing to have a level of priority for the vaccine to keep themselves, their families and the public safe, Mr Hancock said officers will not be prioritised.
They will not be eligible for the vaccine until after the first 32 million people in the country have received it, which is likely to be in May.
Only officers who fall into the first nine vaccine priority groups, based on their age or with underlying health conditions, will receive the vaccine earlier.