Teachers could be next in line for the second wave of COVID-19 jabs, a member of the group advising on the vaccine rollout has suggested.
Professor Adam Finn told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme that while no decisions had been taken on future prioritisation of the coronavirus injections, the “critical role” played by the profession would “figure in the discussions” of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol said committee members had been instructed to come up with a plan by the middle of February to determine the priority order of who should be vaccinated against COVID-19 next.
Vaccination of teachers would help pave the way for schools to fully reopen, with the education of many youngsters already severely disrupted by the pandemic.
Primary and secondary schools in England have moved to remote learning for most pupils due to tighter restrictions, but remain open for the children of key workers and those deemed vulnerable.
It comes as the health secretary told Sky News that more than 200,000 people were getting a COVID-19 jab every day and the government was “on course” to reach its target of two million vaccinations a week.
This would enable the goal to be met of dosing more than 13 million of the over-70s and the most vulnerable by mid-February.
On the future prioritisation of vaccine, Prof Finn told Ridge: “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.”
Asked about the position of teachers on the 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.”
Meanwhile, the NASUWT teachers’ union has warned too many children were returning to school despite the national lockdown, resulting in a high risk of the virus being transmitted.
Matt Hancock told Sky News: “It’s always been the guidance that schools are there for key workers’ children where key workers need to have their children in school in order to be able to get to work.”
He added: “For instance, if you’re a key worker and your partner doesn’t work then you shouldn’t be sending your children to school. That’s clear in the guidance. But of course the reason that we keep schools open for key workers’ children is that this is important.
“It is important – for instance – that key workers in the NHS but not just the NHS – can get to work and so it’s a very difficult balance to strike.”
Subscribe to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
Mr Hancock also defended his cabinet colleague Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who has faced calls to resign over his handling of the crisis.
He told Sky News: “I think Gavin’s been doing a brilliant job in very difficult circumstances.
“And actually it’s incumbent on all of us – frankly the whole country – to pull together as much as possible.”
Source: Read Full Article