More support needed for immunocompromised ahead of 'Freedom Day' in England
Friday 9 July 2021
We've joined a coalition of health charities in calling for the Government to do more to support those who may not have as much protection from their vaccines ahead of 'Freedom Day' in England on Monday 19 July.
Around half a million people in the UK are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed, and research suggests this group may be less protected by the COVID-19 vaccine.
From 19 July most COVID-19 rules will be scrapped in England, including mask wearing and advice on working from home.
We're working with 15 other leading health charities to call for:
- Improved Government/NHS communications to patients, the wider public and employers about the potentially higher and continued risk COVID-19 poses to immunocompromised groups. This should include a clear roadmap for people who may not be well protected by the vaccine and who continue to be at risk from COVID-19.
- Continued employment protection and access to workplace adjustments for immunocompromised people, including the duty to consider working from home wherever possible or flexibility in start and finish times so as to avoid peak-time travel, so no one is forced to choose between protecting their health and protecting their livelihood.
- A commitment that research into COVID-19 booster vaccines, and the development of the planned booster programme more broadly, will specifically consider how best to deliver the maximum level of protection possible to immunocompromised or immunosuppressed people and that these groups are prioritised.
- Investment in and access to alternative treatments which may prove more effective for immunocompromised groups.
A poll by YouGov released today has found that over two thirds (68%) of UK adults are not aware that people who have certain health conditions, or who take specific medication, are not as protected by both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as effectively as the general public.
Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs at Bowel Cancer UK, says: "We are pleased to join this coalition of leading health charities to call for a clear roadmap from Government for people who may not be well protected by the vaccine and who continue to be at risk from COVID-19.
"While we understand the desire to return to normality, the scrapping of the majority of COVID-19 rules in England on 19 July is likely to cause anxiety for those who remain vulnerable, particularly about returning to work. This may involve the need to travel on public transport and to mix more frequently with others, leaving workers forced to choose between their work and their health.
"The needs and safety of those at risk must be considered as a matter of urgency as the country lifts the measures which were providing some protection for them."