‘There should be no case’ where lack of digital access presents vaccination barrier – vaccines minister

Written by Sam Trendall on 24 March 2021 in News

Nadhim Zahawi pledges that multiple routes will be maintain for contact and bookings

Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images

The government’s vaccine minister has pledged that not a single patient should have difficulties obtaining a vaccination because of lack of access to digital platforms.

It was only last month that formal non-digital routes for booking a coronavirus test were opened, when the government announced that, in addition to booking online, citizens can now call the NHS Test and Trace service on 119 and arrange for a test kit to be sent to their home.

But, according to the minister for Covid vaccine deployment Nadhim Zahawi, the programme to inoculate the UK population has made sure to include non-digital means of access from the start.

Asked in a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Kerry McCarthy “what steps he has taken to ensure that people who are digitally excluded are included in the Covid-19 vaccination programme”, Zahawi claimed that citizens without devices or internet connections will not miss out.

Related content

“There should be no case where a patient would only be offered an invitation via digital means, or where the only way to book would be online,” he said. “Invitations for the vaccines are currently being issued in a number of ways. The National Booking Service is primarily sending invitation letters to people’s registered addresses. These letters, sent in size 16 font as standard as defined by RNIB as large print, give the option of booking online, or by the free 119 phone line. This phone line includes BSL and text relay services. Others can make an appointment on behalf of individuals who are not able to make it themselves.”

The minister added that, in cases where a citizen has not responded to their vaccination invitation letter “follow-up phone calls and letters” are sent.

The latest government data indicates that, as of Monday, 28.3 million people across the UK have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with 2.4 million having also received their second dose. The number of vaccinations taking place each day has reached as high as 740,000, and the rolling weekly average has typically been 400,000 per day or higher.


About the author

Sam Trendall is editor PublicTechnology

Share this page




Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Working from home: guidance ends in England but remains in Scotland
20 January 2022

Government called time on policy yesterday, but advice is set to remain in place north of the border until next month

DWP chief sets 2022 goal of ‘using new technology to make it easier for customers to engage with us’
21 December 2021

Peter Schofield discusses the importance of collaborating across organisational boundaries, and why Mary Berry is his ideal New Year’s Eve guest

‘Reform is top of the list for 2022’ – Whitehall COO Chisholm
20 December 2021

Civil service operations chief discusses his priorities for the year ahead

Parliament backs vaccine passports despite 100-strong Tory rebellion
15 December 2021

MPs vote through the use of Covid passes