Call to make teachers a priority for new Covid vaccine

Union leaders say school staff should be among those who are prioritised for a new Covid-19 vaccine
9th November 2020, 2:54pm

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Call to make teachers a priority for new Covid vaccine

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/call-make-teachers-priority-new-covid-vaccine
Coronavirus: Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary Of The Neu, Has Said School Staff Should Be Among Those Prioritised For A Covid Vaccine

Teachers and school staff should be among those prioritised for a new Covid-19 vaccine, according to union leaders.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, and Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, were responding to the announcement that Pfizer's vaccine trial has proved more than 90 per cent effective.

Dr Bousted told Tes that school staff should "absolutely" be among the groups prioritised for receiving a vaccine if and when it arrives.


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"If the vaccine becomes available, then, of course, you would start with the clinically extremely vulnerable and with NHS staff," she said.

Coronavirus: School staff 'should be given priority for vaccine'

"But absolutely education staff should also be included. They are being asked to work in crowded environments, with no social distancing and little access to PPE [personal protective equipment], so, yes, school staff do need to be among those at the top of the queue when it comes to receiving a Covid vaccine."

Mr Barton said: "I think school staff should definitely be prioritised for the vaccine. We are already seeing that some schools are finding it increasingly difficult to stay fully open. 

"The government has said that keeping schools open is a priority and, by definition, that means school staff are critical workers.  It would make absolute sense to make them a priority receiving a vaccine. I think it would also be very reassuring for parents, too."

Downing Street has welcomed the results from Pfizer's vaccine tests as "promising" and said the UK will have procured 10 million doses by the end of the year to be given out, if it is approved.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "The results are promising and while we are optimistic of a breakthrough, we must remember there are no guarantees.

"We will know whether the vaccine is both safe and effective once the safety data has been published and only then can licensing authorities consider making it available to the public.

"In the meantime, the NHS stands ready to begin a vaccination programme for those most at risk once a Covid-19 vaccine is available before being rolled out more widely.

"In total, we've procured 40 million doses of the Pfizer candidate vaccine, with 10 million of those doses being manufactured and available to the UK by the end of the year, if the vaccine is approved by the regulators."

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