Leaders in Oldham will have become the first in the UK to give homeless people priority access to the Covid-19 vaccine after the local council defied Government guidance to offer out jabs.
The Greater Manchester local authority’s cabinet member for adult health and social care, Dr Zahid Chauhan, has spearheaded a plan to ensure homeless people in the area will not miss out on the potentially life-saving doses as Covid-19 cases continue to soar.
Age is currently the key factor when determining priority, following recommendations from the independent advisory group the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The Government hopes to vaccinate the first four priority categories — totalling 13 million people — by mid-February.
— Zahid Chauhan, OBE (@ChauhanZahid) January 4, 2021
But Dr Chauhan, who has been working on the frontline as a GP throughout the pandemic while also running homelessness charity Homeless Friendly, has called on other local authorities to follow his lead.
“Every authority and commissioning group should be prioritising homeless people. It should be a national priority,” said Dr Chauhan. “Unfortunately we are trying to find solutions to national problems locally and I’m hoping that will set an example and others will come through too. I’m trying to do my bit.”