Evidence shows that those of BAME origin are amongst those at highest risk of infection and death from COVID 19. People of BAME origin often work in low paid employment in jobs where it is not possible to work at home such as cleaners, carers and bus drivers. These are also jobs which put workers in close, protracted contact with the public. Doctors in Unite believe that when a safe vaccine against COVID 19 becomes available that those in such high risk roles should be prioritised to receive it and they should be recognised as front-line staff.
In the NHS, it is usual for low paid jobs to be contracted out to private corporations and these outsourced workers, for example in NHS domestic services and portering, do not get treated on a par with directly employed staff. While it has been shown that clinical staff in intensive care units have been well protected against Covid 19 with high quality risk assessment, PPE, air purification and more, other front line clinical workers, especially outsourced BAME workers, have had high mortality.
In addition, public facing workers of BAME origin often live in overcrowded, multi-generational households. Potential exposure to COVID 19 at work not only puts them at risk, but their extended families.
Doctors in Unite believes that these high risk, front-line workers should be among those at the front of the queue to receive a safe COVID 19 vaccine, and applauds the International Workers of Great Britain for their groundbreaking court victory over health-and-safety protection for workers in the gig economy.
See article here on IWGB’s court victory here: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/union-hails-groundbreaking-court-victory-over-access-to-ppe-for-gig-economy-workers