Redouble efforts on unvaccinated to reduce risks of Covid deaths, warn MPs
13 July 2022
In a report on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, the Public Accounts Committee calls for efforts to be redoubled to reach those not vaccinated or fully vaccinated.
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MPs warn that nearly 3 million adults in England are at greater risk of becoming hospitalised or dying as a result of being unvaccinated against COVID-19.
The report finds that comparatively low vaccination rates persist in many vulnerable groups and has even dropped further for some. It calls for NHS England and UKHSA to urgently evaluate which methods are most effective for increasing uptake, including fresh approaches to tackle the persistent low uptake observed in some ethnic groups.
The Committee acknowledges the success of the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme in England and pays tribute to the actions of organisations, including the Vaccine Taskforce, NHS England, and staff including GPs, pharmacists, NHS workers and volunteers. However, the early achievements of the vaccine programme should not cloud the need to review vaccines with uncertainty about how the virus will mutate, say MPs.
Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said:
“The Department and NHS England must build on the initial successes of the vaccine programme and redouble efforts to reach people who are unvaccinated and at greater risk of becoming hospitalised or dying as a result of COVID-19.
Despite work to date, low vaccination rates persist in many vulnerable groups and fresh approaches are needed to reach then.
The Committee recognises the enormous effort by those who developed, secured and administered our Covid vaccines. The vaccine programme made a real difference. As well as saving lives it has reduced the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
It’s important that the early success does not mean that the Department and NHS England take their eye off the ball in tackling future challenges and getting vaccines to hard to reach groups.”
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