Members will be aware that the ICCM, along with the FBCA and other DMAG members, has been lobbying government to include members of the cemetery and crematorium sectors in the priority group for the vaccination as part of those defined as ‘funeral operatives’ in Chapter 14a of Public Health England’s (PHE’s) Green Book.
The Cabinet Office have today confirmed that Ministers have agreed the operational definition, and have asked that we share this with our members and across the sector. Regrettably the operational definition, which can be read here, does not specifically include cemetery and crematorium staff.
However, the definition does state that ‘There is a heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19 when hosting funeral ceremonies due to the legal exemption to break self-isolation to attend a funeral of a close family member.’ As this clearly applies to those involved in the operation of cemetery and crematorium chapels members are advised to use this revised definition if you are approaching the Local Resilience Forum, Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS or your own GP seeking to obtain a priority vaccination.
The Cabinet Office stated ‘We are extremely grateful for the tireless efforts of the funeral sector and for all of the work that you have been doing to ensure that vital services continue’.