During the Health Secretary’s statement in Parliament today, I praised the work of NHS staff helping with the vaccination programme in Bristol and pressed him as to whether he had considered prioritising public transport workers in the second stage of the vaccine roll-out.
Bus and taxi drivers are essential to keeping our transport system going, but potentially at risk because of their close contact with the public. Sadly we have seen a number of deaths from Covid-19. Bristol’s taxi drivers are overwhelmingly from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds, who have been proven to be more susceptible, and might well be involved in transporting vulnerable people at close quarters, so it’s doubly important they are protected. The Government doesn’t seem to recognise this – it only published national guidance on keeping cab drivers safe on 18th November, long after the guidance came out for other forms of public transport. I was pleased that the Secretary of State said he’d be considering whether they’d be prioritised, but think he may need reminding of this in the coming months.