The government is being urged to explain the timescale change to its vaccination programme and confirm whether it will reinstate support measures for vulnerable people shielding at home.
The National Pensioners’ Convention (NPC) said it welcomes Boris Johnson’s recent announcement that people in the top four priority groups, including those aged over 70, should receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by mid-February.
However, it is concerned that the government guidelines on administering the second jab has already changed from 21 days to 12 weeks.
The campaign group said it would like clarification on the timescale change, which “has confused many older people”, and to know if the government is planning to reinstate the package of support measures it introduced in March 2020 for the clinically vulnerable who are shielding at home.
Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the NPC said: “We are really pleased the vaccination programme is rolling out first to a priority list. However, we have already had calls from those who were scheduled for their second jab this week.
“We know many will worry, be confused and perhaps not understand they still need a second vaccination after 12 weeks to be fully protected. The NPC calls on the government to issue clear guidance on vaccination dates, specifically for older people and to monitor the second vaccination to ensure that anyone who had the first one does not fall through the net.”
As people all told to stay at home – possibly for two to three months – to slow the spread of the virus, the NPC believes there is a danger that many older people will be too afraid to leave home for groceries and medicines.
Shortt added: “The Convention is asking the government to be clear about the reinstatement of the package of support measures introduced last spring. This included a million food parcels for the clinically vulnerable. We hope the government acts quickly to mitigate difficulties for those who live alone and/or are designated clinically vulnerable.”