Volunteer in vaccination effort, Labour leadership and TUC urge members

Sienna Rodgers

Labour leader Keir Starmer, deputy Angela Rayner and trade union leader Frances O’Grady have written to party and Trades Union Congress members urging them to volunteer in the coronavirus vaccination effort.

In a message sent this morning, the Labour leadership has joined with the TUC to encourage supporters to volunteer with the NHS and promote vaccination within their families and communities.

It is suggested that members can campaign with their union branch for paid time off when workers receive the vaccine, challenge disinformation online and check the safety of neighbours and friends.

“The sooner the vaccine is rolled out, the sooner we can begin to recover. That’s why we are calling on our members to get involved in the vaccine roll out. Every effort made can make a difference,” the letter says.

The Mirror launched a ‘Let’s Vaccinate Britain’ campaign today with Labour and the TUC, which was splashed across its front page. Its aim is to sign up thousands of volunteers in the national effort.

With the government hoping to immunise almost 14 million people in top Covid priority groups by the middle of February, NHS England is now looking for 50,000 stewards to help out at vaccine centres.

Boris Johnson has described the vaccines as a “means of escape” from lockdown and said “every needle in every arm makes a difference”. To reach his target, more than two million jabs a week will be needed.

Everyone in the top four priority groups includes all care home residents and staff, NHS staff, people aged 70 and over, and the extremely clinically vulnerable who have been asked again to ‘shield’ during lockdown.

Below is the full text of the letter to Labour and TUC members.

Dear friend

2020 was an incredibly tough year for us all. The coronavirus pandemic has hit our country harder than almost any other. Britain is facing the worst recession of any major economy and one of the highest death tolls in Europe. Too many good businesses have struggled. Too many people have lost jobs. Too many of our loved ones have been taken too soon.

We will never forget how it was supermarket staff, delivery drivers, telecoms workers, bus drivers, social care workers, health professionals – all our brilliant key workers – that kept the country going.

Ordinary people stepping up in extraordinary times, putting their lives on the line and making enormous sacrifices to keep us all safe, fed and connected.

As we enter yet another period of restrictions, it would be easy to lose faith. But we cannot afford that.

Because thanks to the ingenuity and brilliance of British scientists, there is hope in the form of the vaccine. It is now incumbent upon us all to ensure it is rolled out, safely and swiftly.

Whenever this country has faced its toughest challenges, the labour movement has always stepped up. The time has come again for the hundreds of thousands of Labour members and the millions of trade unionists to rise to the challenge and work together in this national effort.

The Conservative government has – once again – lost control of the virus. Restrictions are, sadly, necessary to protect people’s health and the health of our NHS. But every week this remains the case, more damage is done to our country – more working people lose their jobs, deeper damage is done to our economy and more families struggle with the toll of lockdown.

The sooner the vaccine is rolled out, the sooner we can begin to recover.

That’s why we are calling on our members to get involved in the vaccine roll out. Every effort made can make a difference.

Our brilliant NHS health professionals are giving the vaccinations. But they need all of us to support them to get everyone vaccinated.

Volunteer your time locally:

  • Sign up to NHS volunteer campaigns.
  • Speak to friends, neighbours and relatives about the importance of getting the vaccine.
  • Ask your faith leaders and local community champions to promote vaccination.
  • Start a campaign with your union branch to get your employer to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated.
  • Speak out against disinformation online.
  • Check on neighbours and friends to ensure they are safe over the coming months.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will need a huge national effort. So today we are asking you to register your details to show that you want to get involved and support the NHS and support each other.

But that won’t be the end of it: because once this crisis is over, we will need to work together to rebuild Britain for working people and families. Not to go back to how things were before this pandemic, but to a country based on the values that are getting through this crisis and where our key workers are no longer underpaid and undervalued.

So, let’s lead from the front. Let’s vaccinate Britain. Then, let’s rebuild our country, together.

Keir Starmer
Angela Rayner
Frances O’Grady

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