(Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

As many as 16 frontline charities have formed a new partnership to encourage those with long term adverse health conditions and their carers to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

The charities in the initiative include the British Heart Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support, Diabetes UK and Mencap, among others.

“Having the support of the charities who work every day to support the very people we are reaching out to in cohort 6 is a great boost for the rollout which continues to show what we can achieve when we pull together as one,” Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said.

Those in cohort 6 – people with certain underlying health conditions and their carers – have been receiving invites from their GP practice since 15 February to come forward for Covid-19 vaccinations.

The charities will work with the government and the NHS to promote vaccine uptake among those they support.

“The rollout is a truly UK wide effort which is why having the support of these fantastic and trusted charities as we work to ensure everyone eligible gets their vaccine is so important,” Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said. “I would like to thank them all for backing this life-saving campaign and offering their expertise and assistance to support the largest medical deployment in British history.”

The charities will support the campaign by sharing content across their channels, including a new campaign video featuring people in cohort 6 getting their jab.

Cohort 6 covers individuals aged 16 to 64 with certain long-term conditions such as chronic respiratory, heart, kidney, liver disease and neurological conditions, including MS and epilepsy, vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and others.

It also includes carers who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of Covid-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.  

“We are incredibly proud to be working with other leading voices in the charity sector to encourage people to get their Covid-19 vaccine,” commented Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK.

“People with diabetes have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they develop coronavirus. For people living with diabetes, the best protection against coronavirus is to get the vaccine and take whichever vaccine you are offered.”

The list of charities which have signed up so far to become members of the new initiative include; African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), Asthma UK, British Heart Foundation, British Liver Trust, British Lung Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Carers UK, Diabetes UK, Epilepsy Action, Kidney Care UK, Lupus UK, MacMillan Cancer Support, Mencap, MS Society, Sickle Cell Society, and Terrence Higgins Trust.

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