Public Health England
JCVI advises prioritising homeless people and rough sleepers for COVID-19 vaccine
The JCVI has advised the government to prioritise people experiencing homelessness, including those sleeping rough, for the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.
Many people who are homeless or sleeping rough are likely to have underlying health conditions which would place them in priority group 6. These are likely to be under-diagnosed or not properly reflected in GP records.
Due to current restrictions, many thousands of people who sleep rough have been housed in emergency accommodation. This provides a unique opportunity to offer vaccination to those often unable to access basic healthcare.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that local teams consider a universal offer to adults experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping alongside those in priority group 6.
They should also be offered the vaccine without the need for an NHS number or GP registration.
Local decisions should be taken on whether a shorter schedule may be offered if they are unlikely to return for the second dose at 12 weeks.
Operationally, it is anticipated that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be easier to deploy to this group of people. The optimal timing for the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 8 to 12 weeks after the first dose.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, yesterday said:
The JCVI’s advice on COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation was developed with the aim of preventing as many deaths as possible.
People experiencing homelessness are likely to have health conditions that put them at higher risk of death from COVID-19.
This advice will help us to protect more people who are at greater risk, ensuring that fewer people become seriously ill or die from the virus.
Rosanna O’Connor, Acting Director for Health Improvement at Public Health England, yesterday said:
People who are homeless or who sleep rough face reduced access to healthcare, and experience some of the highest rates of poor health outcomes and undiagnosed health issues.
We welcome this decision of JCVI and are pleased to have supported the committee with the evidence that helped make this decision, which will protect those who are most vulnerable and may be at increased of severe illness or death from COVID-19.
The JCVI will continue to consider the emerging evidence and will keep its advice under review.
The JCVI letter outlining the recommendations is available in full.
Public Health England press office
133-155 Waterloo Road
Telephone 020 7654 8400
Out of hours 020 8200 4400
Latest News from
Public Health England
JCVI advises on COVID-19 vaccine for people aged under 4007/05/2021 12:10:00
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has issued advice to the UK government on the use of the coronavirus (COVID-19) Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged under 40.
COVID-19 in schools: study shows drop in infections04/05/2021 16:10:00
Round 4 of the Schools Infection Survey (SIS) shows a significant drop in the number of secondary school pupils and staff testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
One dose of COVID-19 vaccine can cut household transmission by up to half29/04/2021 09:25:00
A new study by Public Health England (PHE) has shown that one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine reduces household transmission by up to half.
Public urged to report sightings of tree pest oak processionary moth caterpillars20/04/2021 10:10:10
The Forestry Commission calls on public to report sightings of tree pest oak processionary moth caterpillars.
JCVI issues new advice on COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women19/04/2021 10:10:10
The JCVI has advised that pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.
Weekly national flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports published16/04/2021 12:05:00
National influenza and COVID-19 report, monitoring coronavirus (COVID-19) activity, seasonal flu and other seasonal respiratory illnesses.
COVID-19 vaccines have prevented 10,400 deaths in older adults12/04/2021 10:10:10
PHE analysis suggests the UK COVID-19 vaccination programme has so far prevented thousands of deaths in those aged 60 and above.
New JCVI advice on use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine08/04/2021 14:05:00
The JCVI has issued new advice regarding the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after reports of extremely rare blood clots.