With Covid still here, ILC issues plea to support employee vaccinations

Covid has not gone away, and with many older people potentially vulnerable to the effects of Long-Covid, ILC-UK is urging the Government to provide tax incentives to support employers who want to vaccinate their older members of staff.

A new study led by the University of Oxford has found that a high proportion of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the general population lead to persistent infections lasting a month or more… making ILC UK’s plea to Government to incentivise employers to get employees vaccinated, and extend the COVID Spring Booster to people aged 65 and over, extremely timely.

COVID vaccines are now available on the high street, but ILC argues that private purchase of the vaccine, while positive news and an important development, is not an adequate alternative to a strong NHS-funded National Immunisation Programme.

ILC point out that in the UK, many adults haven’t been able to get a COVID booster since 2022, despite the fact there is no lack of supply and NHS England has destroyed millions of doses of the vaccine.

The think tank is pressing the Government to extend the spring booster eligibility to all those aged over 65 as a way of avoiding unnecessary hospitalisations. Only those aged 75 and over and those with a weakened immune system are eligible for a vaccine this spring. ILC argue that this means that millions of people who could benefit from the vaccine won’t be eligible.

With ill health and demographic change driving workforce shortages, ILC has urged liberalisation of the tax rules to encourage companies to invest in keeping their staff healthy as they work increasingly long lives.

David Sinclair, Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre UK, said: “The expansion of the COVID vaccine into the private market is positive news. But it needs to be supported by a National Immunisation Programme with broad eligibility. We should be giving boosters to people aged 65 and over.”

“Employers must play their part in keeping their workforce healthy as we live long lives and increasingly work into our 60s and 70s. But they won’t do it if there is make it too hard for them to do it. Let’s provide tax incentives for investing in workforce health.”

Image: CDC on Unsplash

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