4 January 2021
A petition is calling on the Welsh Government to make sure police officers are given priority as the Covid-19 vaccines are rolled out.
The petition has been set up by the father of a police officer who contracted Covid and needs to reach the 10,000 signature mark to spark a debate in the Senedd.
“Under the current roll-out programme for the vaccines, police officers will be vaccinated according to their age bracket so given the age profile in policing they will be some way down the list in terms of when they will get their jab,” says Steve Thorpe, chair of Gwent Police Federation.
“We fully respect and appreciate the need to ensure that the most vulnerable people in society, frontline health workers and care home staff should be the first in line for the vaccines but I do think that police officers should also be a little higher up the list in terms of the priorities.
“They have remained on the frontline throughout the pandemic, serving and protecting the public but in doing so they have put their own health at risk and that has an impact on their families too.
“I think our politicians should support officers being prioritised in the vaccine roll-out programme and would encourage people to sign this petition so that this can be discussed in the Welsh Parliament.”
Graham Bishop, who launched the petition, explained that his son passed on the virus to his heavily pregnant wife who ended up in the Covid ward in hospital.
He said: “She had to have an emergency Caesarean section with the twins born a month early. Not only are police at high risk to themselves every day, they also risk their families. Additionally, the loss of policing time is a great strain on the force when officers are off sick with Covid.”
John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has already called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ‘do the right thing’ and ensure officers are prioritised for the new jabs.
He said: “This is certainly not about jumping the queue in front of the most vulnerable members of society or those on the NHS frontline. It’s about ensuring policing is resilient enough to cope with the demands of the pandemic and that my colleagues can continue to support the public during these exceptional times.”