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Teachers could be next in line to receive Covid vaccine

Public sector key workers could be next in line to receive the Covid-19 jab after the vulnerable have been vaccinated.

Phase one of the programme is currently underway to vaccinate the over-80s, care home residents and health and social care workers, with the government aiming to administer the first dose of the jab to all in the group by February 15.

Under ‘phase two’ of the vaccine rollout, teachers, police officers and other critical workers could be in the ‘highest category’ to receive their first dose, said vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.

He told Sky News: ‘Some police officers, of course, and teachers will actually get the vaccine (in phase one) because they are in those categories.

‘We will very quickly move onto those other critical workers in the economy and, of course, those who are doing an incredible job, like our policemen and women in protecting us and enforcing the rules at the moment, will also be in that highest category of phase two.’

The Department of Health today published its UK Covid-19 vaccines delivery plan and suggested critical workers could be next – after considering ‘all relevant data’.

The paper reads: ‘Phase 2 of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.’

However, speaking at a No 10 press briefing this evening, the health secretary stopped short of offering further explanation of who exactly will be next in line for the jab after the priority cohort.

Matt Hancock said: ‘The plan sets out how we prioritised the vaccine so we can protect those at greatest clinical risk.

‘One simple statistic explains why this is important. The top four priority groups account for 88% of the deaths from Covid.

‘This stark fact explains why we must prioritise according to clinical need to save lives and because that is the fastest route to safely lifting restrictions.’

‘The plan sets out how we’ll continue through the clinically prioritised groups and beyond so all adults can be offered a vaccine by the autumn,’ he added.

Vaccination of teachers and education staff would help pave the way for schools to reopen, as children across the country were moved back to remote learning last week and GCSE, A-level and AS level exams were cancelled.

Primary and secondary schools are currently only open to vulnerable children and those with key worker parents.

However, scientists and officials are calling on the government to tighten restrictions by closing all nurseries.

In further updates, Mr Hancock said the vaccine was being rolled out ‘at pace’ and two-fifths of over-80s have received their first dose.

He said everyone soon will live within 10 miles of a vaccination centre, while Professor Stephen Powis said 1,200 pharmacies are gearing up to start delivering Covid-19 jabs.

The National Medical Director for England told the press briefing: ‘We will then kick off another sprint up to April as we get the rest of the vulnerable groups protected and finally a marathon to the autumn as we deliver vaccination to everyone else.’

He added that, apart from social distancing and Covid-19 safety measures, ‘these vaccines are the best line of defence that we have as we continue this battle against coronavirus’.

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