Charities are joining forces to help save lives through the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
The collaboration between 16 charities, including The British Heart Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support and Mencap, will join with the government and NHS to promote vaccine uptake among those supported daily by the charities, as well as promote access to important information or advice.
People with certain underlying health conditions – in cohort 6 – along with their carer have been receiving invites from their local GP practice to have the vaccine since February 15.
Working with the government on the UK’s largest ever medical deployment, the charities will use the combined strength of their networks to reassure people with long-term health conditions about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “The incredible success of our vaccination programme has only been possible by working in partnership with the NHS, health and care professionals, local partners and our volunteers.
“Having the support of the charities who work every day to support the very people we are reaching out to in cohort 6 is a great boost for the rollout which continues to show what we can achieve when we pull together as one.
“Their help, encouragement and links with communities next in line for the jab will help make sure everyone can get access to the life-saving protection the vaccine provides and help protect those with underlying conditions and their carers.”
The organisations which have signed up so far to become members of the coalition include MS Society, Asthma UK, Cancer Research UK and Carers UK.
Cohort 6 covers individuals aged 16 to 64 with certain long-term conditions identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation as being at higher clinical risk from Covid-19.
These conditions include chronic respiratory, heart, kidney, liver disease and neurological conditions, vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, morbid obesity and severe mental illness, as well as sickle cell, lupus and those on GP learning disability registers.
Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Vaccines, said: “The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic and offers the chance to protect yourself and others – that’s why it’s vital that people get their jab when called to come forward.
“The rollout is a truly UK wide effort which is why having the support of these fantastic and trusted charities as we work to ensure everyone eligible gets their vaccine is so important.
“I would like to thank them all for backing this life-saving campaign and offering their expertise and assistance to support the largest medical deployment in British history.”