Bristol City of Sanctuary is one of over 340 organisations, including Bristol City Council, asking for concrete actions to be taken to ensure that everyone in the UK, regardless of their immigration status, proof of address or ID, has access to the Covid-19 vaccine. Whilst the Government has stated that everyone will be able to obtain the vaccine, we know that words are not enough.
After years of living in fear under the Hostile Environment, and years of data sharing, NHS charging and ID checks, many will be afraid to access the vaccine. Alongside that, previous studies have found that, despite being eligible for free primary care, some people with no UK residency status, no formal ID or no recognised proof of address are refused GP registration.
This is why we are calling on the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to:
- Guarantee a firewall that prevents any patient information gathered by the NHS or Test and Trace being used for the purposes of immigration enforcement.
- End all Hostile Environment measures in the NHS, including charging for migrants, to combat the fear and mistrust these policies have created.
- Provide specific support to all GP surgeries to register everyone, including undocumented and underdocumented migrants and those without secure accommodation, and ensure that all other routes to vaccination are accessible to everyone.
- Fund a public information campaign to ensure that communities impacted by the Hostile Environment are aware of their right to access the vaccine and the steps taken above.
We must ensure that everyone has access to the vaccine, regardless of their immigration status. The only way to guarantee everyone’s right to health is to end all Hostile Environment measures in the NHS.
You can read more about the call here.