Call for Sheffield Council to back Vaccines for All campaign
Campaigners are calling on Sheffield Council to back a campaign to allow people to take the Covid-19 vaccine without identification.
Neil Calderwood, a junior doctor based at Northern General, attended a recent meeting of the adult social care scrutiny committee on behalf of Medact Sheffield to ask the council to back its Vaccines for All campaign.
The campaign seeks to protect those who are concerned about the NHS sharing their data with the Home Office which could lead to immigration checks, detention or even deportation.
Mr Calderwood said: “The campaign is aimed at ensuring the vaccines are accessible to everyone with particular regard to people that might not have documentation or ways of identifying themselves or may have other fears such as data sharing with the Home Office.
“It would be great if Sheffield Council would be willing to sign up to the Vaccines for All campaign.
“The campaign emerged alongside wider work around ensuring universal access to health care and its demands are to ensure there is access to everyone which the government has promised.
“There is no mandate to say you need to produce ID in order to get the vaccine but in practicality that is often the case.
“The other main concern is data sharing. Unfortunately there is a relationship between the NHS and the Home Office and data sharing has taken place over recent years which led to people’s immigration status being challenged and ultimately some concerning outcomes like detention or deportation.
“We know at a local level there is room to arrange it in such a way that people can be protected to some extent. For example in Liverpool they are using paper records at the moment until they have a clearer picture of how data sharing is taking place.”
He added other councils including those in Oxford and Bristol had already given their support.
Councillor Cate McDonald, chair of the committee, said she will raise the issue with the leader of the council and said: “Broadly, this committee has on a number of occasions been proactive in tackling health inequalities and we specifically mentioned we didn’t want to see health inequalities perpetuated in relation to the vaccination programme.”