Teacher priority for vaccine up for debate by MPs

Petition calling for teachers to be prioritised passes the threshold for parliamentary debate with 270,000 signatures
5th January 2021, 11:50am

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Teacher priority for vaccine up for debate by MPs

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/teacher-priority-vaccine-debate-mps
Vaccine: Prioritise Teachers In Phase 2, Say Leaders

A petition calling for school staff to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination has reached more than 270,000 signatures as schools shut their gates to most pupils from today.

The petition, which has easily surpassed the 100,000 threshold for triggering a parliamentary debate, says there would be less chance of schools being closed if teachers and other school and childcare staff were prioritised for the vaccine - which would, in turn, prevent working parents having to take time off work.

The current priority list, drawn up on recommendations by the government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), contains nine groups including health and social care workers and individuals deemed clinically extremely vulnerable.


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Top of the list are the over-80s followed by those 75 and over, while the over-50s are bottom of the list.

Coronavirus: Call for teachers to be prioritised for vaccine

Public Health England says all these groups would need to be vaccinated first before teachers could become eligible as a group.

But the petition, started by Charlotte Appleyard, calls for childcare workers "who cannot distance or use PPE [personal protective equipment]" to be included.

The petition states that this would:

  • Provide more protection for children and their families.
  • Ensure continuity of education for children.
  • Allow schools to return to normality faster, having a positive impact on children's mental health.
  • Reduce the chance of NHS workers having to stay at home with children who are isolating due to closures.

Last week education secretary Gavin Williamson said 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.

Meanwhile, Public Health England says teachers would already be on the priority list if they are in one of the nine high-risk groups - for example, if they are over 50 and/or have an underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.

 

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