A coalition of 16 health charities has urged the government to do more to protect vulnerable patients when Covid-19 restrictions are due to be lifted on July 19.
Charities involved in the campaign around rule changes on so-called‘Freedom Day’ include Age UK, Kidney Care UK, Centre for Aging better and MS Society.
They are warning that around half a million people with underlying health conditions need to be better protected when restrictions, such as mask wearing and social distancing, are lifted.
In addition, most of the general public are not aware that people with health conditions are at risk.
A survey released by the coalition found that 68% of adults are not aware that people with health conditions are not as protected by two jabs of vaccine as the general public.
The coalition is also concerned that employees with a health condition could be put at risk if they are asked to no longer work from home and return to busy working environments.
It wants to see better communications with patients and the wider public around the health risks vulnerable people face in the community.
Continued employment protection for immunocompromised people and research into booster vaccines are also being called for.
“We of course understand and share the desire to return to something close to normality again, but this cannot be at the expense of thousands of lives,” said Kidney Care UK policy director Fiona Loud.
“The needs and safety of those at risk must be considered as a matter of urgency as the country lifts the measures which were providing some protection for them.”
“We need better communication so that those who may not be as well protected by the vaccine can make informed decisions about their own personal risk.
“Everyone needs to understand how they can continue to protect those that remain vulnerable; any one of those 500,000 people could be your mum, your brother, your colleague, or your best friend.”
Other charities involved include Blood Cancer UK, Anthony Nolan, Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance and Muscular Dystrophy UK.
With the infection rate now so high, retweet if you think the NHS and Government should be writing to people with blood cancer to tell them the vaccine may not have worked as well for them. https://t.co/krxiYTKLQL— Blood Cancer UK (@bloodcancer_uk) July 9, 2021