Whilst the nation is surely, but slowly, being sufficiently dosed with the first installment of the vaccine, we must take a moment to think about those who haven’t yet been considered important enough for theirs, and how the lottery nature of the government's approach to choosing is not sustainable, or quite simply, fair.
A report from September 2020 showed the education sector was responsible for 21% of Covid outbreaks and that secondary school children were a ‘considerable source of community transmission’. With the schools now back open date for children. The longevity of school closures in both this current lockdown, as well as the first, combined with the data proving that these establishments are a breeding ground for the virus should be enough of a reason to make vaccinating teachers a priority. Unfortunately this is not the case. With it being a government priority to get kids back to school, why is it not an equal priority to keep those responsible for them safe?
When the UK surpassed the 100,000 death toll in early January 2021 (an unfathomable number, made slightly more fathomable by the work, or seemingly lack of, from the government) the tabloids boldly stated that the government was doing, and had done ‘everything they could’. To put this into perspective..
- Johnson missed for essential cobra meetings at the start of the pandemic
- Has only recently implemented a quarantine period after entering the country, making non essential travel in and out of the country illegal (326 days after Australia closed theirs (909 total deaths))
- The wearing of masks were made compulsory months after the initial recommendation to do so
- Schools were kept open despite scientists advising and warning against it
- Boris also bragged about shaking those who had tested positive for the virus’s hands
The list sadly goes on.
Now, it is ESSENTIAL that the vaccine is rolled out in an effective way, truly targeting those who need it…..
Like shop workers for example, praised as key workers throughout the pandemic, many have been left feeling dumbfounded and unsafe as many customers still aren’t wearing marks or adhering to the social distancing measures. From speaking to a local shop worker, concerned about their safety at work, it became apparent that many members of staff were being forced to take unpaid leave because of their fears of virus transmission. Not only is this astounding for those taking the leave, those who are picking up extra shifts to be able to support themselves and their families, are in unsafe environments for prolonged periods of time, not to mention the negative effect on these individuals mental health from working extortionate hours.
It is worth mentioning that a source, a care worker, that has chosen to stay anonymous, stated that when the vaccine was being dished out to his place of employment, the CEO’s and ‘big wigs’ of the company were receiving priority treatment of the vaccine, over those who work hands on with patients. Also, through agency work, a way of employment that many have had to go into because of the global pandemic they were not being offered the vaccine, and it was down to the individual establishments to sort them out. Those who work 1-1 in a support environment should undoubtedly be considered a first concern for receiving the vaccine.
We sincerely hope that immediate action is taken to address the lack of support for these significant workers, amongst many other groups of people and that the continuation of the vaccine roll-out is done in an well thought out and effective way, keeping those who need it safe and fit to work.