As you will know, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out a strategy that prioritises protecting those most at risk of death and serious disease. In line with the JCVI’s recommendations, the vaccine is initially being rolled out to care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and health and care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions.
Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination in priority group six, alongside 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions.
Once those most at risk have been protected, Phase 2 of the programme will commence. This may include targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and delivering key public services, such as foster carers. As with the first phase of the programme, these decisions will be guided by expert advice from the JCVI. I know that ministers have been made aware of the case for prioritising foster carers.
The best way to ensure that all groups are vaccinated as soon as possible is for the vaccine to be deployed as quickly as possible, and I am very pleased with the great progress that is being made. The sooner we get people vaccinated, the sooner we will all be able to return to going about our daily lives safely.