A network of more than 80 charities has called on the government to include undocumented migrant people in the national vaccine programme.
In an open letter to the government, Status Now 4 All says in the interests of “basic humanity and public health”, undocumented people must be able to access the Covid-19 vaccination without fear of reprehension.
The Co-chairs of Status Now, Rogelio Brava and Shaista Iqbal said: “Currently, in the UK, our undocumented migrant population is inhibited from interacting with public health bodies because they fear being reported, detained or deported.
“This means that hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million people in the UK, are excluded from access to any vaccination programme.”
This sentiment has already been echoed by members of the government with Kevin Foster, the Conservative MP for Torbay and Minister for future Borders and Immigration, saying: “No one should fear accessing medical advice from our superb NHS due to an immigration reason.”
According to data from the Pew Research Centre, it is estimated that between 800,000 – 1.2 million undocumented migrants currently live in the UK.
Many of these people might avoid getting the vaccine for fear of endangering themselves, their families and their communities.
Research has shown migrant communities have been particularly hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, especially BAME ones.
The roll-out, which began in December, has so far managed to vaccinate 1.3 million people in the UK.
In order to achieve safety for all, it is crucial that these undocumented people be vaccinated so as not to undermine this national effort.
PICUM, the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, has supported this call: “Any vaccination campaign, to be effective, has to cover virtually everyone. Including undocumented people.
“It is not only humane, it’s also public health common sense. We’re all in this together, and only together can we win this battle.”
The Status Now Network is a coalition of 80+ organisations and community action groups who campaign on behalf of undocumented migrant people across Britain and Ireland.
To get involved in Status Now’s vital work, please visit their website, http://statusnow4all.org/
Alternatively, to sign their petition calling for all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in Leave to Remain, please click HERE