An MP has warned the government is “discriminating” against people living in inner-city areas by rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine in hospitals in the country’s wealthiest areas first.
The NHS has begun vaccinating patients against coronavirus at dozens of hospital “hubs” from this week in what is the biggest immunisation programme in history.
For the first wave of vaccines on Monday, 50 hospital hubs were chosen to administer it. The number increased to 70 on Tuesday.
In the House of Commons on Tuesday, Labour’s Naz Shah, who represents Bradford West, highlighted how all three vaccine centres in Bradford are outside the inner city and in more middle-class areas.
She pointed to the government’s own review accepting that Covid-19 affects Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities disproportionately.
She asked health secretary Matt Hancock: “When will this government actually stop discriminating against those that live in inner-city areas and prioritise them because of their health risks?”
On Wednesday, Shah wrote to Hancock and outlined how inner-city hospitals do not meet the criteria of having 1,500 patients over 80 in their network area because of lower life expectancy.
She added: “Not only has this government historically failed inner-city Bradford and Black ethnic minority communities, but by setting out the criterion as it has done, is further blatantly discriminating against these communities.
“We have seen devastating loss of life in Bradford, those in the inner-city, including Black and ethnic minority communities, have suffered enough.”
Hancock responded in the Commons: “The rollout of the vaccine is being managed by the NHS and it is entirely unfair of (her) to describe the NHS in that way.”
NHS England has been contacted for comment.
The vaccine will be offered to the over-80s and to care home staff and others identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). People in that age range who are already attending hospital as outpatients, and those being discharged after a hospital stay, will also receive the jab.
Some 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have been delivered – enough for 400,000 people – but it is unclear when more doses will arrive from the manufacturer.
In total, the UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer jab, enough to vaccinate 20 million people as patients need to receive two doses.
The 50 hospital hubs in the first wave are:
- Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- East Suffolk And North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
- James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Norfolk And Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
- Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
- Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
- Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
- St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Walsall Healthcare NHS TrustChesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Coventry And Warwickshire NHS Trust
- Royal Stoke Hospital
- Northampton General Hospital NHS TrustUniversity Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust
- United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
- Nottingham University Hospitals NHS TrustShrewsbury And Telford Hospital NHS Trust
- Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- South Tees NHS Trust
- Wirral University Teaching Hospital
- Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
- Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
- Blackpool Teaching Hospital
- Lancashire Teaching Hospital Trust
- Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust - Wexham Park Hospital
- Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – William Harvey Hospital
- Brighton And Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust - Royal Sussex County Hospital
- Portsmouth University Hospitals Trust
- Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust
- Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
- University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
- Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustNorth Bristol NHS Trust