An online petition to make prison staff a priority for the COVID-19 vaccine has been given a response by the government. They do not plan on deviating on the advice from The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations (JCVI).
When the United Kingdom went into lockdown last March, a clear message of ‘work from home’ was pushed in a bid to protect the public. However, not all workplaces allowed individuals to work from home.
Such jobs like nursing, care workers, and those who work in essential businesses became key workers in the fight against COVID-19. One of the roles often forgot about is those who work in prisons.
With those who work for the NHS and care sector being the priority for the vaccine, many are left wondering why prison staff are not included in this.
With mass outbreaks happening in prisons across Scotland – with HMP Kilmarnock having revealed almost 300 people have tested positive in the prison. This follows spikes in many prisons over Scotland. Like HMP Barlinnie having a significant number test positive for the virus before Christmas.
It seems many prison staff and prisoners are at risk of falling victim to the virus, yet the course set out by the Scottish government is staying the same.
The response was:
“Having identified age as being the biggest determining risk factor to increase mortality COVID-19 vaccinations have been prioritised to care home residents and staff and those over 80, followed by health and social care workers then to the rest of the population”.
This means prison staff will not be made a priority for the vaccine. This has become an issue in prions with many staff having tested positive and leaving to self-isolate for ten days, if been in close contact.
This is leaving prisons short staffed, which can be unsafe, as other staff have to fill in the gaps and may not know the wing or prisoners.
Prison staff believe they should be a priority for the vaccination as the daily running of the prison still occurs; prisoners get liberated and prisoners still need to make court appearances.
If you wish to view the petition or the governments response click on the link – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/567308
feature imagine: prisonguard.co.uk