Police told NOT to wear uniform at Covid vaccine centres 'to avoid drawing attention' while receiving leftover jabs

POLICE have been told they can get spare Covid jabs left over at vaccination centres – but only if they wear plain clothes to avoid attention.

In an internal memo, officers have been told they can take up the inoculations where there are leftover vaccines that would otherwise have been thrown away.

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But officers have been urged to avoid accusations of preferential treatment that would contradict the Government's decision not to prioritise police, the Daily Mail reports.

The Met Police memo tells cops to attend appointments "in plainclothes or a plainclothes jacket and not in marked vehicles".

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the force had designed a priority list to ensure that if vaccines were made available then they could be directed to frontline staff who needed it most.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said officers should have been given priority in the first place.

He said: "It's disgusting that my colleagues have to beg, borrow and steal to get a vaccine to do their job safely."

If vaccines are not taken up within a certain time period, they can become ineffective.

The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept in cold storage at minus 70C and once thawed only lasts for up to five days, so it's important they are used up in time.

Once vials of the Oxford vaccine are opened, they must be used up in six hours.

A total of 13.5 million people have already had their first jab, with 524,000 getting their second Covid vaccine too.

It has been revealed that cops are likely to be high priority for getting the vaccine from May anyway, along with teachers, in a bid to slow the virus spread among key workers.


Whitehall sources have said key workers such as teachers and police are likely to be among those given early access to the jab, reported The Telegraph

It is clear that teachers and police will be given early priority

The Government's joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI) is expected to make recommendations in the week beginning February 22 as Boris Johnson issues plans to ease lockdown, starting with the return of schools. 

But sources said there was a "clear focus" on giving early priority to key workers including teachers and police.

One told The Telegraph: "The JCVI will need to see the latest data on transmission before they make their recommendations, but we have been clear that there are two things – firstly protecting those most at risk of hospitalisation overall, largely as a result of age, which is what the first cohorts cover, and then looking at those whose roles increase their risk.

"The transmission data will inform the exact recommendations, but it is clear that teachers and police will be given early priority."

From next week, the vaccination programme will begin working its way through the next five groups.

It will start with those aged 65 to 69, then under-65s with underlying health conditions before moving through age groups down to 50.

Ministers have said all these groups should receive their first jab by the end of April.

Meanwhile, a top medic has warned Covid rules should remain in place "until the adult population is vaccinated".

Dr Susan Hopkins said that each phase of easing coronavirus restrictions would need to be watched "very carefully".


The Covid-19 strategic response director at Public Health England said we will need to "watch very carefully as we ease up in these national restrictions," taking time to "watch and monitor at each phase".

She told Sky News: "I think that once we get to a very low level of community, we will need to have ongoing measures in place until the adult population are vaccinated.

"What those measures are, we will have to watch and see, but I think it is really important that we keep the rates as low as possible for as long as possible this year."

'ALL OF THE ADULT POPULATION'

Asked whether the summer would be more restricted than last year, she said: "I think it is really difficult to say.

"Some of the weeks last year there was really, really low amounts of infection, less than two in 10,000 people were infected at one point in the summer."

The infectious disease expert added that what we have learnt is "when people go on holidays, perhaps they drop their guard a bit".

"Perhaps they mingle a bit closer, and they mingle in groups, and that may be one of the areas where spread of infection can occur.

"So I think we are going to have to have some measures in place until the whole population are vaccinated, at least all of the adult population.

"And even then I think we will need to know more about transmission before we can release everything and get back to life as it was."

It comes after furious MPs hit back at calls for the UK to delay relaxing lockdown – and begged Boris not to backslide on his timetable.

Scientists publicly called for the PM not to ease lockdown measures yet, and to delay it until the number of cases was in the thousands.

I think we are going to have to have some measures in place until the whole population are vaccinated, at least all of the adult population

Sir Jeremy Farrar said infections must fall to 10,000, a huge 75 times lower than the level he estimates is present at the moment.

Meanwhile, Matt Hancock said earlier today that Britain is on course for an “easier” exit from lockdown because Brits are flocking to get Covid jabs in “incredible” numbers.

The Health Secretary revealed uptake of the vaccine has been “far, far higher than expected” raising hopes over the longer term scaling back of restrictions.

He said the Government had been working on the assumption three-quarters of people would get the jab, but the figure two months into the rollout programme is north of 90 per cent.

Take up has been particularly high amongst 75-79-year-olds and stands at an an “absolutely incredible” 96 per cent, he added.

Last night Boris Johnson made a public appeal for anyone who was in the top cohorts and hadn't had the jab to come forward and take it now.

Around two million still need to be jabbed in that cohort, he said, an areas the size of Birmingham.

The more people that are vaccinated, the more ministers will likely be able to reopen the economy and get life back to normal in the weeks to come.

Mr Hancock did not suggest today the Government is planning to accelerate plans that have already been announced, such as the March 8 reopening of schools.

But his revelation that the UK is ahead of where it expected to be on jabs take up will boost hopes for the longer term relaxation of restrictions.


 

The Health Secretary was asked what percentage of people need to have taken the vaccine for the easing of restrictions to go ahead.

He told BBC Breakfast: “The assumption we had going into the vaccine programme was 75% of people would take the jab, and we’re now well over 90%.

“So that has gone far better than my most optimistic projections, and I’m quite an optimistic kind of guy.

“That has gone really very well and that of course does make it easier safely for us together to come out of this."

Last week The Sun revealed the hated 10pm curfew will not return when pubs finally reopen in May.

The PM has ordered “a simplification” of rules meaning punters will not have to buy a scotch egg to get served – but revellers will be encouraged to drink outdoors.

Ministers have pencilled in a return for takeaway pints in April, and with pubs and bars able to reopen fully a month later.

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