Ministers are being urged to offer vaccines door to door in hard-to-reach, deprived and minority ethnic communities amid fears that coronavirus could become a disease of poverty.
As leaders set out plans to reopen society, with one in three UK adults already having received their first dose, experts said the stark disparity in vaccine uptake in pockets of the country risked leading to the “vaccine-rich” being protected while the virus continued to circulate in disadvantaged areas.
Speaking to the Guardian, Dr Halima Begum, the chief executive of the Runnymede Trust thinktank, said if people were not able or willing to go to GP surgeries, hospitals or vaccination centres, members of the NHS vaccine army should go to them.
Currently, a vaccine is offered to people in their own homes if they are registered with their GP as housebound or immobile. NHS England said in some areas GPs were increasing their efforts, highlighting the case of the London-based GP Dr Farzana Hussain, who has phoned every patient from her surgery who has been offered but not yet accepted their jab. But there are no plans to roll out a door-to-door vaccine scheme for those in hard-to-reach areas.
Begum said black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities were particularly vulnerable to being left unvaccinated…