IPEM has acknowledged the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, (JCVI), on the prioritisation of groups for vaccination, and offered support to calls for key workers not employed by the National Health Service, but nevertheless essential to its safe and effective functioning, to be recognised as frontline health and social care workers.
Guidelines1 from the JCVI highlight that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. The medical instrument and device industry provides a wide range of essential workers to enable the NHS to function every day. They support surgical procedures such as neurological, orthopaedic and cardiac procedures, some of which still have to be performed during the pandemic. Others supply technology solutions and associated support to assist healthcare providers in managing the unprecedented demand brought about by Coronavirus. They work alongside NHS staff, often in high-risk hospital environments, and are a critical component of those national health and social care systems which must be protected as a matter of priority.
These collegial workers are not members of the NHS or IPEM, but recognising them as frontline health and social care workers will protect the health care systems within which so many IPEM colleagues work, thereby helping them to work both safely and effectively.
IPEM requests that these key workers are recognised as frontline health and social care workers and placed in the appropriate vaccine priority group. (Priority Group 2 as of 6th January 2021).
IPEM supports similar calls from other bodies and organisations on behalf of their members and industry sectors, including: AXREM, BIVDA and ABHI, and acknowledges that there will most likely be essential workers in other sectors of the life science and health care industries also working alongside frontline NHS clinical staff, who should also be included.
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