Experts organising the roll-out of Britain’s vaccinations are discussing who should be prioritised next – amid calls for teachers to be at the top of the list.
Boris Johnson has previously pledged to have all 13million of the most vulnerable people immunised against Covid-19 by next month – but there are increasing calls to protect frontline workers such as teachers and police.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which is overseeing the massive rollout, has been told to come up with a plan by the middle of February for the priority order of who should be vaccinated next.
Professor Adam Finn told Sky News today: ‘JCVI will be discussing over the coming month phase two if you like as to who should be prioritised next.
‘As you can appreciate these considerations start to be social values in a way more than the criteria we normally use, which is pressure on the health service.
As Britain hopes to have 13million people in the four most vulnerable groups vaccinated by mid-February, talks have turned to who will receive priority jabs next
‘There are broader considerations when it comes to people with different occupations and the relative importance of them in society.’
Asked about the position of teachers on that list, he said: ‘I can’t predict exactly what will be prioritised but I can say that we will be discussing this and coming up with a plan, and I can also say that when it comes to teachers I think we all appreciate the critical role that they all play and so that really will figure in the discussions.’
Prof Finn’s comments come just days after Matt Hancock insisted teachers have a ‘very strong case’ to be next in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
Professor Adam Finn told Sky News today that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation would have a plan in place for the next round of jabs by mid-February
Four groups of people have been identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation as being most in need of the vaccine.
They are care home residents and staff, all over-80s and frontline health and social care workers, all over-75s, and all over-70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable.
But with the Government hoping all 13million people within those groups will be vaccinated by mid-February, discussions are increasing on who should receive doses next.
The Health Secretary told MPs that ministers are currently ‘considering’ who will get the jab once the top four priority groups of the most vulnerable people have been vaccinated.
Senior MPs and industry figures have stressed that a speedy return to lessons is paramount to prevent the latest national lockdown causing further damage to children’s education.
Immunisation of teachers and staff is heralded as the key to getting pupils back in classrooms, as children themselves are at very little risk from the disease.
Mr Hancock told the House of the Commons that teachers have a ‘very strong case’ to be next in line once those four groups have been covered.
He said: ‘Of course we are considering, once we have vaccinated those who are clinically vulnerable, of course we are considering who then should be the next priority for vaccination and teachers of course have got a very strong case, as have those who work in nurseries and many colleagues across the House have made that point.
‘We will consider that.’
Earlier this week, Priti Patel voiced her hopes for the next stage of the roll-out.
The Home Secretary told Good Morning Britain: ‘I want to see everyone receive the vaccine that’s the imperative of the work that we’re doing.
‘There’s work taking place on those individuals who have occupational exposure to infection. That’s people on the frontline, our nurses, but also teaching professions.
‘I feel very strongly on our police officers fire officers, people on the front line. The joint committee for vaccination and immunisation are looking at all of that right now and they are working on a programme to ensure that those professionals are given the vaccine.