Labour pays tribute to local NHS and volunteers
Labour pays tribute to local NHS and volunteers
Northumberland’s Labour Group has paid tribute to the excellent work by Northumberland Primary Care Trust, its health partners and volunteers who are making the county’s vaccination programme a success. The success of the vaccination programme compared with test and trace proves our point that local authorities, health service and public health are best placed to deliver these programmes locally.
But Labour is also urging the government to go further faster, to ensure that the vaccination programme is done quickly, safely and efficiently enabling people to get back to some sort of normality and the economy and start to recover.
Labour is calling for the government to as a matter of urgency to:
•        establish more mass vaccination centres and mobile vaccine units for hard to reach communities led by the NHS, in partnership with local authorities;
•        train thousands more vaccinators to turbo charge the vaccination programme and cut bureaucracy to help retired NHS staff return to help administer vaccination;
•        set a target to have vaccinated all NHS and social care staff; to provide certainty to those working at the frontline of the crisis:
•        deliver the resources that GPs and pharmacists need to increase the number of people they can vaccinate including providing them with additional properly trained staff, and access to public buildings to set up local vaccination centres;
•        establish a national public health communication strategy to ensure the public are fully informed about the vaccine. This must tackle vaccine hesitancy and target communities with historically lower vaccination rates. Information on the vaccine must be available in accessible formats and other languages from the start of the programme;
•        publish an equal access plan to put the infrastructure in place to ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, can access the vaccine, targeting rural, deprived and BAME communities.
Labour Group leader Susan Dungworth said: “The vaccine rollout in Northumberland is amazing and, on behalf of my Labour colleagues and everyone in the county, I’d like to thank and congratulate everyone involved.
“The vaccination programme is a bit of very welcome good news in the middle of this dreadful pandemic. The British people have sacrificed so much, now the government must deliver for the British people. The Prime Minister needs to use this lockdown to develop a round-the-clock vaccine programme, 24-hours a day, seven days-a-week in every village and town, every high street and every GP surgery.
“The whole country wants this roll-out to succeed. We were the first to get the vaccine and if we get this right and pull together, I know we can be the first country to roll it out successfully. Every high street has a pharmacy and we want to see every possible pharmacy deployed to help.
“Thanks to our brilliant scientists, we were the first country in the world to get the vaccine. Let’s be the first in the world to get our country vaccinated.
“The pandemic has taken at least 80,000 lives. It’s cost the NHS £1 billion a week, the UK economy £5.3 billion a week and it’s seen jobs losses running at 23,000 a week. So the quicker we can get the vaccine rolled out, the quicker we can recover and rebuild.
“We should be aiming for an ambitious vaccination programme that operates 24/7 making full use of community pharmacists, GPs, retired NHS staff and volunteers.”
Keir Starmer and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady have launched the Let’s Vaccinate Britain campaign to issue a rallying cry for hundreds of thousands of Labour members and millions of trade unionists to be getting involved, volunteering and helping out in every village, town and city.
Keir Starmer said; “Whenever our country has been at a time of need, the Labour movement has always stood up, moving heaven and earth to help in the national interest. The roll-out of the vaccine is a crucial moment – we are all invested in getting this right.
“Our brilliant NHS health professionals are giving the vaccinations. But they need all of us to support them to get everyone vaccinated. Between us, we can make a huge difference to delivering the vaccine and making Britain the first country in the world to roll it out successfully.”
Labour is calling on the government to urgently bring forward legislation that would include financial and criminal penalties for social media companies that fail to act to “stamp out dangerous anti-vaccine content”. Analysis by the Labour Party has uncovered anti-vaccination groups with hundreds of thousands of members on social media are still running – despite the government and social media companies’ announcement of new measures to tackle the issue.
The spread of disinformation online presents a “real and present danger” to vaccination efforts and calls on the government to bring forward online harms legislation. If the government works constructively with Labour on the issue, Labour will provide votes to pass legislation.
The government announced an agreement with social media giants. But the detail of the agreement revealed that the only commitment was not to profit from or promote flagged anti-vax content, raising questions as to why these groups aren’t simply being closed down.

Keir Starmer added: “The government has a pitiful track record on taking action against online platforms that are facilitating the spread of disinformation. This is literally a matter of life and death and anyone who is dissuaded from being vaccinated because of this is one person too many.”

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