Author: Claire Schofield
People who are not legal residents in the UK will be given a Covid-19 vaccine regardless of their immigration status, the Home Office has confirmed.
The coronavirus vaccination is only available through the NHS and those who are registered with a GP will be contacted when it is their turn to receive a jab.
Immigration status won’t be checked
The Government is working to reach people who are not currently registered with a GP to ensure they are offered the Covid-19 jab, amid the drive to vaccinate the whole of the UK population.
As such, illegal immigrants will be allowed to receive the vaccine without being subject to checks on their immigration.
The Home Office has said it will not take action if someone in the UK illegally registers with a GP to be innoculated.
A government spokesman said: “Coronavirus vaccines will be offered to everyone living in the UK free of charge, regardless of immigration status.
“Those registered with a GP are being contacted at the earliest opportunity and we are working closely with partners and external organisations to contact those who are not registered with a GP to ensure they are also offered the vaccine.”
More than 12 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with the Government aiming to offer jabs to everyone in the top four priority groups by 15 February.
The Government has also pledged to vaccinate all those aged 50 and over, as well as younger adults in an at-risk group, by May.
As people will only be invited for their vaccine via their GP, the Government is now working to ensure that those who are not registered with a doctor will also be offered the jab.
Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, said: “It is essential for all our health that everyone is able to access vaccines easily and without fear of punishment.
“But this will only work if the Home Office immediately legislates to end all data sharing with doctors, hospitals and healthcare providers.
“Without this guarantee, mistrust will prevent vaccine uptake, which will harm us all.”
How to register with a GP
Anyone can register with a GP surgery and you do not need proof of address or immigration status to do so.
To register, you will need to contact your chosen practice and ask to be included on their patient list. The surgery will usually ask you to fill in a form, or ask you for your NHS medical card so that your records can be transferred.
If you are staying somewhere in the UK for less than three months, you can ask to be registered with a GP on a temporary basis. You can also register with a local practice temporarily if you move around the country and have no permanent home.
Unless the GP’s register is full, or you live too far away for home visits, it is unlikely you will be refused registration.
How you’ll be contacted for the vaccine
Once you have registered with a GP, the NHS will contact you when it is your turn to have the Covid-19 vaccination.
You will be contacted by letter, text or email, with information on how to book your appointment.
If you are invited to have your vaccination at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy, you will receive a letter. If you are invited to have your vaccination at a local centre, such as a hospital or GP surgery, you will usually receive a text or email, but in some cases a letter will be sent.
You can choose to go to a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy, or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service.
If you have received a letter but not booked an appointment, you may get a phone call from the NHS Immunisation Management Service, which will contact you from 0300 561 0240. This will be a reminder to book your vaccination appointment.
The person you speak to will see if you need any help and support, but they will not call you to book an appointment over the phone.