Homelessness: Coronavirus

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 15th January 2021.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the prioritisation of (a) homeless outreach and assessment workers, (b) homeless hostel (i) workers and (ii) residents for covid-19 vaccination; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Many of those people sleeping rough will be a priority for the COVID-19 vaccine due to underlying health conditions and we continue to work with the Department for Health and Social Care, Public Health England, and NHS England on this important issue.

We have asked all local authorities to redouble their efforts to make sure rough sleepers are safely accommodated and are asking that this opportunity is actively used to make sure that all rough sleepers are registered with a GP where they are not already, and are factored into local area vaccination plans, in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation.

The JCVI advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be for the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. Frontline social care workers directly working with people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 are on a priority list for vaccination. Local authorities are encouraged to look at those working in homeless settings for whether they meet this criteria, referring to NHS guidance on the vaccine deployment in social care workers.

We continue to work closely with the homelessness sector, local authorities and health and care partners, to ensure the needs of those experiencing homelessness can be met.

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