The UK is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of progress made with vaccinating its population. On 15 February 2021, the UK vaccination programme moved into its second phase after 15 million people received their first dose of the COVID jab. A further 1.2 million invitations to attend for vaccination have been sent to over-65s and the clinically vulnerable, and it has been reported that a similar number of invitations are expected to be sent out this week.
Many newly arrived migrants may be wondering whether they are eligible to receive the COVID vaccine in the UK. The vaccine is offered free of charge to those with a right to reside in the UK and people will be eligible for the vaccine even if they only recently acquired their UK resident status. It has been recommended that everyone who resides in the UK registers with the NHS promptly after their arrival, and ensures their data is correctly noted on the NHS system, so that they can be invited to receive the vaccine when it is their turn. Please note that if you are in the UK as a visitor, you will not be eligible for the NHS vaccination programme.
However, not everyone residing in the UK is willing to register for healthcare, despite it being free of charge. At the beginning of the pandemic, the charity Medact warned the UK Government that the fear created by the NHS sharing data with the Home Office would prevent certain migrant communities accessing treatment for Coronavirus due to worries over potential deportation. Just a week ago, the government announced an amnesty for undocumented migrants and confirmed that there would be no checks on immigration status at vaccination centres. It was stated that “those who are here illegally can come forward to receive a vaccine”. Subsequently, over 140 charities, faith groups and local authorities have written to the government stating that the “amnesty” alone will not be sufficient, and urging further action from the state authorities to ensure some 1.5 million undocumented migrants feel safe in coming forward to receive the necessary treatment and vaccination.
Should you have any doubts over whether you are eligible for the NHS vaccination programme, or would like to discuss your UK immigration status, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.