Undocumented UK migrants to be offered Covid vaccine without any checks | Society

People living in the UK with unofficial or uncertain migration status are to be offered coronavirus vaccinations without any checks on their right to live in the country, the government has said.

Charities and other groups will be asked to make contact with people worried about their immigration status who are not registered with a GP to urge them to seek a vaccination.


Country US/Germany

Efficacy 95% a week after the second shot. Pfizer says it is only 52% after the first dose but the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says this may rise to 90% after 21 days.

The UK has ordered 40m doses and is rolling them out now

Doses Clinical trials involved two doses 21 days apart. The UK is stretching this to 12 weeks.


Country UK

Efficacy 70.4% 14 days after receiving the second dose. May have up to 90% efficacy when given as a half dose followed by a full dose. No severe disease or hospitalisations in anyone who received the vaccine. 

The UK has ordered 100m doses and has begun distribution

Doses Two, four to 12 weeks apart


Country US

Efficacy Phase 3 trial results suggest an rating of 94.1%.

The UK has ordered 17m doses, to be delivered in March or April

Doses Two, 28 days apart


Country US

Efficacy Phase 3 trials suggest 89.3%.

60m doses ordered by the UK, with distribution expected principally in the second half of the year

Doses Two

Janssen (part of Johnson & Johnson)

Country US

Efficacy 72% in preventing mild to moderate cases in US trials but 66% efficacy observed in international trials. 85% efficacy against severe illness, and 100% protection against hospitalisation and death.

30m doses ordered by the UK

Doses: One, making it unique among Covid vaccines with phase 3 results so far

Photograph: Stéphane Mahé/X02520

The announcement forms part of concerted efforts to vaccinate as many people in the UK as possible, not only to reduce serious illness but also, given emerging evidence that the vaccines reduce transmission, curbing the spread of the virus.

There are no up-to-date figures on the number of people living in the UK without official permission. The last Home Office estimate, made in 2005, suggested there were about 430,000 people in the country with no right to remain. One independent study from 2019 estimated that the number could now total between 800,000 and 1.2 million.

Migrants without official status will be vaccinated in the same order as others in the UK, dependent on their age or medical status. Phase 1 of the programme, which covers offering first injections to the top nine groups seen as most vulnerable to coronavirus, up to all adults aged 50 or older, is scheduled to be completed by May.

The hope is that all those over 18 will be offered at least a first vaccination injection by the autumn.

The government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has published a list of groups of people who will be prioritised to receive a vaccine for Covid-19 in the UK. The list is:

1 All those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers.

2 All those 75 and over.

3 All those 70 and over.

4 All those 65 and over.

5 Adults under 65 at high at risk of serious disease and mortality from Covid-19.

6 Adults under 65 at moderate risk of at risk of serious disease and mortality from Covid-19.

7 All those 60 and over.

8 All those 55 and over.

9 All those 50 and over.

10 Rest of the population.

As part of the effort to reach out to undocumented migrants, the government is stressing that vaccination is free for all, regardless of nationality and status, meaning no immigration checks are carried out.

The Department of Health and Social Care has also stressed that anyone getting a coronavirus vaccination, or being tested or treated for the illness, are not subjected to checks on their immigration status.

A government spokeswoman said: “Coronavirus vaccines will be offered to everyone living in the UK free of charge, regardless of immigration status.

“Those registered with a GP are being contacted at the earliest opportunity and we are working closely with partners and external organisations to contact those who are not registered with a GP to ensure they are also offered the vaccine.”

Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, said: “It is essential for all our health that everyone is able to access vaccines easily and without fear of punishment.

“But this will only work if the Home Office immediately legislates to end all data sharing with doctors, hospitals and healthcare providers. Without this guarantee, mistrust will prevent vaccine uptake, which will harm us all.”

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