Emily Thornberry Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury
Thank you for contacting me about the Coronavirus vaccine.
The news that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines have been approved for use in the UK gives us all hope that life may soon return to normal. Many constituents have been in touch with me about the vaccine and I wanted to write back to you to share my thoughts.
I am, of course, delighted that the Coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK and that the rollout is now well underway.
With England having once again been placed into a national lockdown, Boris Johnson has said that the government are going to conduct a “massive ramp-up operation” in the rollout of the vaccine. The goal is that 13 million people in the groups at the top of the prioritisation list will have been vaccinated by mid-February. This applies to care home residents, those aged over 70, frontline health and social care workers, and extremely clinically vulnerable people.
I sincerely hope that the UK is able to meet its ambitious vaccination target so that we may see restrictions begin to ease and our old way of life begin to return.
To help with the rollout of the vaccine, the Labour Party have teamed up with the TUC and the Daily Mirror to launch the ‘Let’s Vaccinate Britain’ campaign. We are calling on our members to volunteer their time locally. For example, by signing up to volunteer with the NHS, promoting the vaccine to their friends, neighbours, and relatives, and speaking out against misinformation online. I am encouraging everyone to get involved where they can. You can read the campaign’s launch article by clicking on the following link: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/become-nhs-volunteer-help-millions-23274109
There were early reports in the UK that many people, including here in Islington South and Finsbury, were hesitant to take the vaccine. Now that the rollout is underway, vaccine hesitancy does not appear to be as widespread as we first thought. Uptake of the vaccine has been high among those who have been offered it, which is very reassuring. A lot of vaccine hesitancy exists because of harmful misinformation, especially online, that the government has not done enough to dispel. In the Labour Party, we are calling for the government to introduce emergency legislation to penalise social media companies which fail to “stamp out dangerous anti-vaccine content”.
Thank you again for emailing me about the Coronavirus vaccine. I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well. If you have any further points you would like to raise with me, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.
The Rt Hon. Emily Thornberry MP
Islington South and Finsbury