Hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants face being denied Covid jabs because surgeries are refusing to register them, it has been reported.
An investigation by The Independent and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism claims to have found that less than a quarter of GPs would register someone without ID, despite NHS England policy stating documentation is not required.
When approached to register a fake patient without ID documents or proof of address, some 62 per cent of surgeries were said to have refused altogether.
And 14 per cent said they were unsure whether they could.
Earlier this year ministers said that people living in the UK unlawfully would be given an amnesty to receive the Covid jab.
Health Minister Edward Argar said the Home Office would not take any action against illegal immigrants if they register with a GP to get inoculated.
He said the virus “is not worried about their immigration status” and confirmed that anyone treated for Covid-19 would also not face enforcement action.
But the investigation claims to have found that that with up to 1.2 million undocumented immigrants in the country hundreds of thousands cannot register with GPs and so cannot book a jab.
A domestic worker and suspected victim of modern slavery told the publication she had been turned away three times since March when trying to register because she couldn’t show documents.
She said: “Each time they said no and asked for my documents I felt more afraid. I tried to explain that I needed to register to get a vaccine, but they kept saying it wasn’t possible.”
The investigation further claimed to have found some practices gave out wrong information for undocumented people trying to register.
In response to the claims a government spokesperson told the paper that Covid vaccines were “available to every adult living in the UK”, and that the government was working closely with the NHS and local authorities to contact people, including migrants, who were not registered with a GP or may not have an NHS number, to ensure they were offered a jab.
The claims come amid soaring rates of new Covid infections.
Most recent government data shows a huge spike in new cases on Thursday with a total of 48,553 confirmed coronavirus cases in a single day.
It follows days of surging cases and daily tallies that have not been since since January when the country was plunged into lockdown.
There were also 63 deaths reported within 28 days of a positive test yesterday.
The country is just days away from a mass relaxation of Covid restrictions that will see a raft of measures lifted, coming into effect on Monday.