Socialist Worker

Tory plans to limit vaccinations for coronavirus will put ordinary people’s lives at risk

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2725

Only those considered vulnerable by the government will receive a vaccine

Only those considered 'vulnerable' by the government will receive a vaccine (Pic: VCU Capital News Service/flickr)


Most people in Britain won’t be vaccinated for coronavirus when a vaccine becomes available. 

The disgraceful admission is yet another example of how those at the top are prepared to put ordinary people’s lives at risk.

Kate Bingham, head of the Tories’ vaccines task force, told the Financial Times newspaper last weekend that vaccinating everyone “was not going to happen”.

Bingham is not a medical ­professional, but the managing director of SV health investors. 

She claimed that the ­government plans to vaccinate around 30 ­million people. Britain’s population is around 67 million.

Bingham said, “People keep talking about ‘time to vaccinate the whole population’, but that is misguided.

“There’s going to be no vaccination of people under 18. It’s an adult-only vaccine, for people over 50, focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable.”

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The government currently has six candidates for potential ­vaccines from different pharmaceutical companies. 

The vaccines may not be at the final phase of medical testing before the middle of next year. 

Vulnerable

The Tories paint their vaccine plans as protecting the most vulnerable. For instance older people, who are more likely to die from the virus, will be among the first to be ­vaccinated.

But Devi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at Edinburgh university, said that the category of “vulnerable” could include poorer people. 

“You could make the argument that the people you need to vaccinate are people from a deprived background,” she said.

“The best way to shield is to be wealthy.”

But far from protecting ­vulnerable people, the Tories will consider which groups are “useful” for the economy. David Nabarro, special envoy to the World Health Organisation on Covid-19, said there would be “analysis of who is the priority for the vaccine”.

He said people could be deemed eligible for the vaccine “based on where they live, their occupation and their age bracket”.

“We’re not fundamentally using the vaccine to create population immunity,” he said.

The government’s proposed rankings for vaccination would see older adults in care homes and care home staff vaccinated first. 

Next would be people over 80 and health and social care workers, followed by people over 75. 

The rankings mean people with serious conditions such as heart disease will have to wait longer for the vaccine if they are under 65.

And contracting Covid-19 is potentially life-threatening for ­everyone, regardless of age and health.

Scientists agree that the virus can wreak long lasting damage, and that otherwise healthy people are at risk too. 

The rationing of the vaccine in Britain highlights a global problem. People in poorer countries are likely to have to wait much longer before receiving vaccines.

There should be a vaccine—when safely developed— available to all.


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