Prioritise terminally ill during COVID vaccine roll-out, urges Pinsent Masons comms chief

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By Legal Cheek on

Fred Banning has stage four bowel cancer

Pinsent Masons’ Fred Banning

Pinsent Masons‘ head of corporate communications is calling on the government to prioritise palliative care patients during the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in the UK.

Fred Banning, who was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer earlier this year, launched a campaign to push the terminally ill up the vaccine priority list at the start of December.

The father-of-two has since received backing from over a dozen charities including Cancer Support Scotland, Marie Curie and the Beatson Cancer Charity.

“Urgent clarification is certainly needed on the extent to which those undergoing palliative care have been considered in formulating plans for the roll-out, and it would be helpful to know whether the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, agrees that there is a humanitarian case for early vaccination,” said Banning in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday.

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The Glasgow-based PR chief, 38, went on to stress that it is not a case of “queue jumping over equally deserving cases, but simply asking the decision makers at Westminster and the Scottish Parliament to give serious consideration as to how our society treats people who are nearing the end of their lives”.

Commenting on the campaign, Pinsent Masons’ senior partner Richard Foley described Banning as a “good friend” who “has always been a powerful advocate with the courage to speak up and have his voice heard”.

He continued: “The effect of the COVID-19 crisis has been keenly felt by so many and it’s always difficult to say who is more deserving than who but, as Fred says, it doesn’t seem too much to ask whether those receiving palliative care have been considered in the context of the roll-out of the vaccine and, if so, for them to be told where they stand. I’m sure I speak for many in the profession when I say I hope an answer to that question is quickly forthcoming.”

Banning joined Pinsent Masons in 2014, following spells at McGrigors and Hogan Lovells.

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