POLICE forces have been left scrapping to get leftover vaccines as their officers don’t have a confirmed place in the queue for a COVID-19 jab.
Hampshire Police Federation said the force has had to divert precious police resources away from fighting crime to get surplus inoculations into the arms of their officers so that they can start to be protected from the virus on the frontline.
Police and other blue light workers have had to wait in line for a jab like regular members of the public even though they are exposed to much more risk.
“We are literally getting the scraps and the leftovers which isn’t right,” Federation Chair Zoe Wakefield said.
“We got our resource management team having to put resources into identifying people who haven’t had the vaccine, contacting them, then contacting the vaccine centre to arrange the appointment for them.
“We’re having to use police resources to deal with the spares that we get, look at who’s on duty, who’s not on duty, take into account the risk of people being ill post-vaccine, making sure that that doesn’t impact on resources for the next day.”
All this would have been avoidable If the Government’s JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations) had made sure policing at least had a place in the queue, Zoe said.
“If the Government had just prioritised us for the vaccine, we would all be getting it via our GPs or some other way,” she said.
“We wouldn’t be having to use police resources to do it.
“In Hampshire, we’ve been prioritising frontline staff because they’re the ones that are most at risk, but I’ve raised that we also now need to look at our level two officers because they’re going to be going off to the G7 summit in Cornwall.
“It would be reassuring to those officers going knowing that they’ve been vaccinated because they’re going to be mixing with colleagues from all over the country.
“The whole thing is completely wrong. Nobody in policing seems to understand the reasons why other occupations have been given it, and we haven’t.
“Those reasons will apply to police officers as well.”