The Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) has called for chauffeurs and other private-hire drivers to be put on the priority list for the Covid-19 vaccine. According to a statement on its website, the Association has sent a letter to Ministers, including the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and Transport Parliamentary Under-Secretary Baroness Vere.
The letter is sent on behalf of eighteen taxi and private-hire trade bodies, including the Chauffeur and Executive Committee. It strongly calls for its drivers to be given high priority for the vaccine. The enclosed space and difficulty of social distancing for both drivers and passengers puts them at a very high risk of both catching and spreading the virus.
Steve Wright, the Chairman of LPHCA commented: “Many Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle drivers have needed to continue working to support the NHS, emergency services, educational and other critical services.”
He continues: “With all the above essential services stretched it has been necessary for Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle drivers to play their part in supporting them. Drivers need to be protected as do passengers, so once the very highest levels of priority have been done taxi and PHV drivers should be prioritised for vaccination.”
The letter draws attention to the mortality rates for taxi and private-hire drivers, which according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are well above the average. Rates for taxi drivers and chauffeurs are recorded at 65.3 deaths per 100,000; putting them in the highest rate of all road transport drivers, and also above retail assistants.
The letter makes it clear that the LPHCA respects the priority groups currently set out by the Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, and does not call for any of them to be downgraded. However, it emphatically underlines the extra level of risk that some drivers are exposed to, while carrying out key tasks in the healthcare and education sectors.
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