In the UK, undocumented migrants will have the right to be vaccinated against the coronavirus free of charge without verification of their right of residence. “Those who are registered with a general practice are contacted as soon as possible and we are working closely with partners and outside organizations to contact those who are not registered, and ensure they have access to the vaccine,” a government spokesperson said Monday.
The Home Office has access to certain data concerning patients registered with general practices under the public health service, the NHS. But the government has told NHS officials the vaccination, as well as testing and treatment for the coronavirus, would not be subject to migration status checks.
The heaviest toll in Europe
Representing doctors, the British medical association (BMA), which had called for this suspension of the transmission of information about migrants during the pandemic, called for “clear and broad” communication around this announcement. “For the vaccination campaign to be a success, it is crucial that as many people as possible get vaccinated,” said the director of the association’s ethics committee, John Chisholm, in a statement to AFP. “It is therefore vital that there are absolutely no barriers preventing migrants from coming to be vaccinated,” he added.
The United Kingdom deplores more than 112,000 deaths from the coronavirus, the heaviest toll in Europe. He launched a massive vaccination campaign that delivered a first dose to more than 12 million people. The authorities fear, however, that certain categories of the population will not be vaccinated out of mistrust, especially among minorities. Some estimates put the number of undocumented migrants in the UK as high as 1.3 million.