The COVID-19 vaccine: Our responsibilities as NHS workers

Dr Karl Marlowe, Chief Medical Officer, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Karl Marlowe at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust writes to staff to advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine:

“As NHS workers, our families, friends and communities look to us as role models in helping to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Health professionals are amongst the most trusted people in society. With this trust comes responsibility.”

“ I am therefore writing to urge you to do all you can to advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Please challenge the damaging myths and misinformation about the vaccine whenever you encounter them.
  • Please share the facts and evidence about the vaccine to help hesitant people in your communities make informed decisions about getting vaccinated.”

“The numbers are stark: Over 91,000 people have died (UK). Over 28,000 COVID-19 patients have been admitted to hospital in the last 7 days (more than at any time since the pandemic began). Many hospitals are under intense pressure, and in some areas are having to postpone life-saving cancer treatment in order to cope with COVID-19 demand. In the first week of the New Year, there were nearly 8,000 cases in Hampshire which has an infection rate higher than the national average. Sadly, many of us now know friends, family members or colleagues who have died.”

“COVID-19 has a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable with deprivation and structural ethnic inequality driving this. I particularly call on NHS staff who are able to influence these groups, to please raise your head and champion the rationale for vaccination. For each 160 people in the 4 priority group vaccinated, it is estimated that 1 life will be saved. We can all be part of this.”

“The vaccine programme is our way out; our way back to normal life. And already there are some more positive statistics to share: Over 4.2 million people have received their first dose. It’s the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history, aiming to vaccinate the 13 million most vulnerable people by mid-February alone.”

“We are all part of this historic effort. Please take the opportunity to get the vaccine and please advocate for the vaccine within your communities and with your peers.”