Labour are continuing to stand by their policy to give vaccine priority to teachers, despite widespread condemnation.
Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, suggested that the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) consider evidence that would prioritise teachers once the most vulnerable are vaccinated. Labour are pushing the policy in the hope that this will allow schools to safely reopen.
The JCVI is an independent body of experts. At present, their advice suggests that “the first priorities for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems”. This sees care home residents and the over-eighties prioritised first, gradually decreasing in risk by age and vulnerability.
Speaking to The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC, Ms Reeves said that vaccinating teachers was “the sensible thing to do”. She added: “The Government say that getting our kids back to school is a priority – Labour agree, but the Government have no plan to achieve this.”
Ms Reeves also said: “It would take just a couple of days to get our teaching staff vaccinated, so the JCVI should look at this.”
Speaking to Sky News, Ms Truss rejected Labour’s plan, saying: “For every person you vaccinate who isn’t in the most vulnerable group, that is somebody in the most vulnerable group who isn’t getting their vaccine and who is more likely to die in the next few weeks and months.”
Conservative Party Co-Chair Amanda Milling MP also said Labour had “abandoned the science and is playing politics with the vaccine”.
The Government hopes that the most vulnerable will be vaccinated by mid-February.