NEWS1 February 2021

MRS calls for vaccines for Covid-19 researchers

Covid-19 News Public Sector UK

UK – The Market Research Society (MRS) has told the government to not overlook face-to-face researchers working on the Covid-19 infection study during the vaccination programme for key workers.

Covid-19 vaccine

A letter from Jane Frost, chief executive of MRS, to Nadhim Zahawi, parliamentary under-secretary of state for Covid-19 vaccine deployment, says that researchers collecting data on the spread of Covid-19 were unable to work from home and risked infection through their job, meaning they should be eligible for early vaccination.

The Covid-19 Infection Survey (CIS) collects data on behalf of the Office for National Statistics and the University of Oxford and identifies how many people have already had Covid-19. The study relies on data from face-to-face interviewers retained by Ipsos, Kantar and NatCen.

Zahawi said on Channel 4 News last week that workers who risk exposure to Covid-19 through their work should be given serious consideration when deciding on who is prioritised to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.

Frost wrote that the researchers in the CIS were already classified as key workers, and their data was vital for determining government policy towards combatting Covid-19.

“These workers are definitely vital to the effort against Covid-19 and although little recognised, it is important they are not overlooked in any further prioritisation exercise,” the latter says.

“Without the insight from this study the UK government would not have the vital evidence base to manage the pandemic and to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed.”