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No reply from MP Nadhim Zahawi on plan for frontline vaccine rollout

AS prime minister Boris Johnson apologised last week for the UK’s 100,000 Covid-19 deaths, the government’s handling of the pandemic has come under question.

One Stratford constituent despairing of the lack of a timetable for the rollout of the vaccine to essential workers took to social media to demand answers from MP Nadhim Zahawi.

So far Meg Sanders has sent 22 messages on Twitter to Mr Zahawi but has received no response. She has also yet to receive a reply to an email.

Mrs Sanders asked the MP: “I’m sure all your constituents would like to know when key and frontline workers can expect to have their first dose of vaccine.”

She added: “I’ll continue to ask every day until you’re kind enough to reply.”

Meg Saunders from Alveston. Photo: Mark Williamson A7/1/21/0740. (44137848)
Meg Saunders from Alveston. Photo: Mark Williamson A7/1/21/0740. (44137848)

While Mrs Sanders praised the rapid rollout of the vaccine, she said the lack of strategy was unbelievable.

She told the Herald: “The priority has been to reduce deaths and the pressure on the NHS but I would suggest that keeping people safe who are running the country should be given an equal priority.”

Mrs Sanders’s family work on the medical frontline – her daughter is a junior doctor working in A&E in Sunderland, her son is a volunteer vaccinator in London and her sister is a GP in Solihull.

And while she has been frustrated at the delay in them being vaccinated – although her daughter has just had her first jab – she said she was also concerned about other essential workers.

“Post office and delivery workers are having physical contact with unsanitised parcels all day long. How would we manage if supermarket and delivery staff were unable to work because of illness? And what about police officers, teachers and transport workers?

“I feel as if people in these vital roles are being utterly taken for granted.”

Mr Zahawi’s office told us: “Nadhim receives, without exaggeration, tens of thousands of notifications across social media each day. It is simply not possible to acknowledge them all.

“Emails, however, will certainly be responded to.”

Meanwhile, responding to questions put by the Herald, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said the rollout to keyworkers would be part of a second phase of the vaccination programme, but that was “still under consideration and the advice will be updated at the appropriate time”.

They added: “We are grateful for the tireless efforts of all our key workers at this difficult time. They are keeping us safe and ensuring that vital services carry on.

“The government is following the advice of independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on which groups of people to prioritise for Covid-19 vaccines.

“They advised the immediate priority should be to prevent deaths and protect health and care staff, with old age deemed the single biggest factor determining mortality, and the NHS is now working at pace to vaccinate these groups.

“Under the nine priority groups advised for phase one, those over 50 years and all adults in a medical risk group will be eligible for vaccination – this includes any key workers who fall into these groups.”

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