20 January 2021
Dyfed Powys Police Federation secretary Roger Webb has welcomed the news that the Home Secretary is working to prioritise police officers in the next phase of the coronavirus vaccine roll-out.
Priti Patel told Nick Ferrari on LBC Radio that she has been working with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to effectively fast-track officers, along with firefighters and teachers, in the queue for the vaccine and that Health Secretary Matt Hancock is “100 per cent” supporting her. She also said she has told policing partners to prepare logistically.
Roger said: “We appreciate that the most vulnerable members of society should be the first to receive the vaccine but it is absolutely right that the Government then prioritises police officers and other frontline workers. This virus continues to have a devastating effect on the service as more and more officers become ill or are being forced to isolate.
“We would now like to see the Welsh Government follow suit and show the same support to our officers who remain on the frontline of the nation’s response to the pandemic and are putting their own health, and that of their families, at risk. Yet as the programme currently stands, officers will only be vaccinated according to their age.”
A petition calling on the Welsh Government to prioritise officers was set up earlier this year by the father of an officer who contracted the virus while arresting an offender. He passed the virus to his heavily pregnant wife who ended up on a Covid hospital ward and having an emergency Caesarean section with twins born a month prematurely.
Roger added: “This is not about police officers ‘jumping the queue’, it’s about protecting them and the long-term resilience of the service as a whole.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told LBC yesterday she was “baffled” that officers were not more of a priority in the roll-out and national Federation chair John Apter has also been calling for police officers to be prioritised in the vaccine roll-out programme.