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Covid vaccine phase 2: Usdaw deeply disappointed that retail staff will not be prioritised, despite clear evidence they are at higher risk

Date: 26 February 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw has consistently campaigned for shopworkers to be prioritised for vaccination, so the union is deeply disappointed that today the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has rejected prioritisation by occupation. Last month the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released evidence on Covid death rates by occupation, which showed that many key workers are at a higher risk.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Our members in the food supply industry, including those in processing plants, distribution, essential retail and grocery delivery are deeply disappointed by today’s news that they will not be prioritised for vaccination.
 
“The Office for National Statistics last month demonstrated that many key workers, who are providing essential services during the pandemic, have an elevated Covid-19 related death rate. It is clear that close proximity to the public and other workers, as well as an indoor working environment are key factors in the spread of coronavirus infection.
 
“Usdaw has consistently campaigned for vulnerable occupations to be prioritised in the second phase of the vaccine rollout, reflecting the risks they face. They have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country supplied with essentials and deserved to be prioritised. So today’s announcement is deeply disappointing and we strongly urge the Government to reconsider the decision.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
ONS Coronavirus (Covid-19) related deaths by occupation, England and Wales: deaths registered between 9 March and 28 December 2020: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19relateddeathsbyoccupationenglandandwales/deathsregisteredbetween9marchand28december2020
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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