‘Strong case’ for giving teachers vaccine priority

Health secretary tells MPs teachers could be given priority for vaccine once clinically vulnerable have had the jab
7th January 2021, 2:45pm
Dave Speck

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‘Strong case’ for giving teachers vaccine priority

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/strong-case-giving-teachers-vaccine-priority
Coronavirus & Schools: Health Secretary Matt Hancock Says There Is A 'strong Case' For Prioritising Teachers For The Vaccine

Teachers could be among the next priority groups for the Covid-19 vaccine, according to health secretary Matt Hancock.

Speaking in the Commons, he said that once the clinically vulnerable had been vaccinated, teachers and staff in nurseries had a "very strong case" for being next in line.

Meanwhile, MPs are set to debate the question in the Commons on Monday after a petition calling for teachers to be prioritised for the vaccine reached nearly 350,000 signatures.


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And the second-largest teaching union, the NASUWT, said today that it is "in the national interest" for all teachers and education staff to be prioritised for vaccination.

The current priority list, drawn up on recommendations by the government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), contains nine groups including the over-80s at the top followed by the over-75s, while the over-50s are bottom of the list, which also includes health and social care workers.

Coronavirus: Teachers 'should be a priority group for vaccine'

The JCVI says it will be make recommendations "in due course" as to which occupations will be prioritised for phase 2 of the vaccine rollout once these groups have been vaccinated. Other priority groups alongside teachers could include first responders, the military, those involved in the justice system, transport workers and public servants essential to the pandemic response, says the JCVI.

When asked in the House of Commons if teachers would be prioritised, Mr Hancock said: "Of course, we're considering [that]. Once we have vaccinated those who are clinically vulnerable, of course we're considering who then should be the next priority for vaccination - and teachers have got a very strong case, as have those who work in nurseries and many colleagues across the House have made that point and we will consider that."

Meanwhile, the NASUWT, which has evidence that rates of infection among school staff are more than three times the average, says the risk for teachers working with young children and those with special needs is comparable to that of health and social care workers.

General secretary Patrick Roach said: "It is right that health and social care staff are prioritised, but the NASUWT also believes that teachers must also be identified as a priority group for the vaccine.

"Through the autumn term, we have seen a bad situation getting worse by the day. Now, at the start of 2021, the position is as bad if not worse than it was in March."

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said last week that he hoped that school and college staff would be "high up" on the Covid-19 vaccine priority list once the most vulnerable groups have received the jab - but he said it was not within his "remit" to determine who receives vaccinations.

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