Our Ref: E1/21
To: All Branches
Correspondence with UK Government Calling For Priority Covid-19 Vaccinations For CWU Members:
CWU/HQ has been lobbying the UK Government at both a number of Skype meetings and in correspondence for priority to be given to postal workers in the next phase of the vaccine rollout programme along with other essential workers such as the Police, emergency services workers and teachers.
The Government and government agencies have been asked to recognise that CWU members/postal workers, POL and BT workers have come through a really tough time over the last year.
As ‘essential workers’ the Royal Mail, Parcelforce, plus POL and BT workforce have worked non-stop throughout the pandemic and lockdowns with no furlough paid time off arrangements, keeping the population in touch, providing a lifeline to communities across the UK, delivering record high levels of mail, parcels, essential goods, medications, Christmas gifts etc., providing access to the new on-line market place as the high street locked down and the population turned to e-commerce and the internet market. Additionally, the Royal Mail workforce has been called upon and indeed depended on by the Government, NHS, DHSC etc., to collect and deliver millions of Covid-19 test kits.
Sadly, a number of postmen and women have died of the Covid-19 virus and tens of thousands have been infected and made very ill in many cases, some have had to fight for their lives – but still this great CWU member workforce has coped and delivered for the Government and the nation.
Attached is the Union’s latest letter to Ministers and the recently received response from the Minister’s assistant which in summary:
Thanks the Union for the letter to Health Minister Matt Hancock.
Understands the Union’s concerns.
Confirms that the Government is being guided by the advice of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the Chief Scientific Adviser, Chief Medical Officer and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups of people should be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccines.
The collective conclusion of these experts is that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to prioritise vaccinations of people by age.
The experts have additionally concluded that targeted vaccination priority to occupational groups at higher risk of exposure would not be as effective in reducing deaths and hospitalisations as direct protection of those at higher risk of serious disease and an age-based programme.
Delivery of a programme targeting occupations such as postal workers, Police, emergency services etc., would be operationally very complex and would risk slowing down the pace of the vaccination programme.
An age-based programme will still protect individuals (such as postal workers) working in jobs with a potentially higher risk of exposure to the virus, with the most vulnerable in those occupations vaccinated first.
Finally, the Government is making excellent progress with over 24million first dose vaccinations given to the most vulnerable and those who care for them, and the programme is on track to meet vaccination of all adults by the end of July.
Copies of most recent letter to Health Minister and Reply.
Dave Joyce National Health, Safety & Environment Officer