Thank you for contacting me about vaccinations for teachers and school staff.
Initially, the vaccine will be offered to all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers; all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers; all those 75 years of age and over; and all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that the priority for the vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.
It is my understanding that, across the UK, we are on track to deliver on the commitment to offer a first vaccine in everyone in these initial, most vulnerable, groups by the middle of February. These groups have, so far, accounted for 88 per cent of COVID-19 fatalities, so this achievement will be a significant step.
Teachers and school staff have played a critical role throughout this very challenging time, and I would like to thank them for their hard work and tireless commitment. It is my understanding that the JCVI has considered evidence on the risk of exposure and mortality by occupation. The initial priority list includes everyone over the age of 50, and anybody in a risk group over the age of 16, which captures almost all preventable deaths from COVID-19, including those associated with occupational exposure to infection. As such, further prioritisation by occupation, beyond frontline health and social care workers, has not been advised during the first phase of the programme.
The JCVI noted that occupational prioritisation could form a part of a second phase of the programme, which will target healthy individuals between 16 and 50 years old. It is my understanding that the Minister for Covid-19 Vaccines Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi MP, has said that it is his strong instinct that workers at greater risk of catching the virus, such as teachers and police officers, will be offered a vaccine following the conclusion of the phase 1. However, as of yet, the priority list for the second phase has not been established.
Please be assured that I will ensure that my ministerial colleagues are aware of the points and concerns that you have raised with me about this important matter.
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking