A cabinet minister has suggested that more of the most vulnerable members of the public could die if teachers were placed on the vaccination priority list.
Labor is urging teachers to receive the shock before schools return but after vaccinating those in the four most vulnerable groups, which is expected by mid-February.
However, this appeared to be ruled out by International Development Secretary Liz Truss, who said it could put other vulnerable groups at risk.
When asked if teachers should be prioritized, she told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, “The problem is that for every person you vaccinate who is not in the most vulnerable group, this is someone in the am Most vulnerable group is who is not getting their vaccine and who is more likely to die in the next few weeks and months.
“I just don’t think that’s right. This is the decision of the independent committee that we will vaccinate those over 70 and those in the most vulnerable group first, and then those over 50.”
Under the current vaccine supply plan, people living and working in nursing homes are high on the list of priorities, followed by those over the age of 80 and health and social care workers on the front lines, including NHS workers.
Next on the list are people over 75, and the fourth group are people over 70 and people classified as extremely clinically at risk.
Labor has suggested that after vaccinating the first four categories, February halftime should be used for teachers and all school staff to receive the sting.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said there was a “very strong case” in favor of vaccinating teachers before schools reopen to all students in England, which the government has set for March 8th.
Meanwhile, Labor’s Rachel Reeves suggested that frontline workers like bus drivers or police officers should be given a higher priority for vaccination because they are at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus.
The shadow cabinet minister told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We know that some people are more exposed to the virus because of their work.”
She said Labor is calling on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) to consider whether “those who are most exposed to the virus can get access to it earlier”.
Government data as of Jan. 30 show that of the 9,468,382 shocks given in the UK to date, 8,977,329 were first doses – an increase of 598,389 from the previous day’s numbers.
Professor Anthony Harnden, vice chairman of the JCVI, said he was “confident” that the UK could supply vaccines amid fears that this could be disrupted by EU export controls and demand for UK-made batches.
He told BBC Breakfast: “We are making very good progress with the number of vaccines in this country. So far we have had 8.3 million first doses.”
“These vaccines are not easy to make. It’s a complicated process that involves lots of batch testing and supply chains. There will be some bumps in the road for sure.”
“I’m pretty confident that the Vaccine Taskforce has ordered millions of doses of different vaccines that we can keep supplies going.”
Regarding the dosing regimen, he said that if supply issues are making it difficult to get two doses of the same vaccine, it is currently recommended that it is better to get a second dose of a different vaccine than no dose at all.
Dr. Susan Hopkins, director of strategic response for Covid-19 at Public Health England (PHE), said experts wanted to develop studies on how to get the two doses of different vaccines.
“With some other infections, we can see that this is often an effective strategy as it challenges the immune system in slightly different ways,” she told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show.
“That hasn’t been researched for this virus or for these vaccines, but we will no doubt have answers later this year.”