Health and social care professionals are being urged to 'lead by example' and have the vital first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine over the coming weeks.

The letter being circulated to all local NHS employers, councils and social care providers, calls on frontline workers who are eligible for the vaccine to do their 'collective duty' by taking up the protection.

An estimated four million NHS staff members have been invited to have the first dose by the middle of February, as part of the ambition to protect millions of people in the top four priority groups set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Reduce chances of healthcare staff becoming ill

For both vaccines, the first dose delivers the vast majority of the protection gained two weeks after it is administered – significantly reducing the chances of staff becoming ill if they come into contact with the virus.

All staff will receive their second dose within 12 weeks, in line with guidance from the JCVI and the four UK Chief Medical Officers designed to protect people as quickly as possible and save more lives.

The letter is signed by the country’s top nurse, social care nurse, midwife, GP, pharmacist, allied health professional, healthcare scientist and dentist, along with the NHS National Medical Director and Chief People Officer.

Eligible staff are being invited for their vaccination either where they work, at a local hospital hub, a vaccination centre or through a local GP-led service.

Non-NHS employers, such as local authorities and home care providers, are working together with local vaccination teams to identify eligible workers and arrange for them to be vaccinated. In addition to frontline NHS staff, those eligible include people who work directly with others who might be vulnerable, such as personal assistants and carers, occupational therapists and rehab workers, and counsellors and mental health workers.