Publication - FOI/EIR release

COVID-19 emergency frontline responders: FOI release

Published: 14 Apr 2021

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
14 Apr 2021
COVID-19 emergency frontline responders: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100151824
Date received: 5 Feb 2021
Date responded: 31 Mar 2021
Information requested

1. Outline the definition of Frontline Emergency Responders.

2. Provide a breakdown regards all Emergency Services and how staff are prioritised throughout their respective organisations to receive a vaccine. e.g. Medical/Nursing staff operating in a COVID ward/ colleague providing back office functions with minimal contact with the public or staff exposed to the public.

3. Provide details of the Health and Safety Risk Assessment details for all Emergency Responders.

4. Provide details of how Emergency Responders are prioritised.

5. Outline details of all Partnership/Stakeholder Meetings (include details of all Organisations involved) surrounding the COVID Vaccinations to outline Full Inclusivity throughout Emergency Responders.

6. Outline all Unions & Federations e.g. Unison & Scottish Police Federation who are involved and in what capacity.

7. Outline whether Unions or Police Federations are current Partners/Stakeholders and attending regular meetings to act on behalf of their subscribers.

8. Provide details of all meetings to date along with minutes/agendas.

9. Outline details of any non Priority groups which may have been offered vaccinations e.g Call Centre Staff who are not exposed to front line risks.

Response

Attached is a copy of most of the information you requested.

Some of the information you have requested is available from a variety of different websites but can be chiefly obtained from www.gov.scot where we have published much of our vaccination rollout plans. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. However, in order to be as helpful as possible I have provided the information below as part of your fuller response.

In some instances, as will be indicated below, the Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the Scottish Government is not responsible for the subject of risk assessments for individual professions. This information would be held by the NHS or governing trade bodies and is not something that we have on our system.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. I have indicated where this section applies as part of your fuller answer.

1. The Scottish Government does not have a definition for 'frontline emergency responders', however we do refer to 'frontline health workers and social care staff'. We know that COVID-19 transmission is taking place in the community and – as is the case with any infectious disease – this is more likely where people are in closed settings, including within hospitals and care homes. As a result, we are seeing a rise of definite hospital onset cases. As part of phase 1 of the vaccination programme, frontline health workers and social care staff are being vaccinated as part of the 2nd cohort (after patients aged 80 years and over).

Health Boards are implementing a range of measures to minimise any potential risk of coronavirus transmission in hospital, following the latest guidance from Health Protection Scotland on infection prevention and control, and PPE guidance.

2. All of our decision making in the approach to responding to Covid-19 is guided by the latest scientific evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), advice from Health Protection Scotland and our Chief Medical Officer. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) provides advice on immunisation to all UK Health Departments, including on the efficacy and safety of vaccines.

Decisions to prioritise one population group over another are not taken lightly, nor are they straightforward. That is why our prioritisation decisions have been, and will continue to be, guided by the independent expert advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The JCVI priority groups are based on either vulnerability to COVID-19, or on interacting with (and therefore possibly spreading to) people who are vulnerable to COVID-19. I have outlined these priority groups for you;

This phase 1 priority list is as follows:

  • residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  • all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  • all those 75 years of age and over
  • all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  • all those 65 years of age and over
  • all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  • all those 60 years of age and over
  • all those 55 years of age and over
  • all those 50 years of age and over

It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.

3. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

4. Please refer to the answer provided to question 2). Prioritisation is based on vulnerability to COVID-19 or the exposure/interaction with those likely to have COVID-19. For example, some emergency responders (fire service) may not receive their vaccines at the same time as staff working on a maternity ward. Even within those groups of colleagues there may be a prioritisation based on health conditions of individuals and age.

5. Please refer to the answer provided for question 8.

6. Please refer to the answer provided for question 8. The organisations that are involved attend regular meetings and are engaged in dialogue with Scottish Government Ministers and policy officials who are coordinating the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

7. Please refer to the answer provided for question 8.

8. We have interpreted this question as asking for all meetings to date along with minutes/agenda since the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. I have provided you with a grid which shows who met, when they met and the topic of the meeting. This grid also indicates if there is a relevant attachment with meeting notes and agendas.

In some of the meeting notes I have redacted information under section 38(i) (b) which relates to personal information. I have redacted names and email addresses of third party individuals and government officials to protect their identity. This is indicated by [REDACTED].

I have also redacted information that is not within scope of the request you have made (i.e. information that does not relate to vaccinations) as some of the meeting agendas cover wide ranging and sometimes confidential issues where specific cases are discussed or business that does not directly relate to the Scottish Government's vaccine programme is covered. This is indicated by [REDACTED].

9. Please refer to the answer provided for question 2). Prioritisation is based on vulnerability to COVID-19 or the exposure/interaction with those likely to have COVID-19.

About FOI
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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG