Covid vaccine priority list updated: Homeless people to get jabs before teachers

Jonathan Van-Tam warns coronavirus battle 'not yet won'

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It means those who are homeless will now get a jab before teachers giving face-to-face lessons in the classroom every day. The decision was made by the Health Secretary in light of the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which guides the Government on who is most at risk from coronavirus.

Those who are homeless will be able to get vaccinated immediately, after being moved into priority group six alongside adults clinically at risk.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We know there are heightened risks for those who sleep rough and today I have accepted the advice of the independent experts at the JCVI to prioritise those experiencing rough sleeping or homelessness for vaccination alongside priority group 6.

“This will mean we will save more lives, among those most at risk in society.”

Despite calls from Labour and some unions for teachers to be given priority, the Government has decided to rollout injections based on age, with ministers targetting the end of July for all adults to have received a first jab.

It means some teachers in their 20s could be left waiting months before getting a first dose of the vaccine.

The decision was made after the JCVI said teachers were not more at risk of coronavirus than other working professionals.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “This is a very challenging period for people who are homeless.

“We know those experiencing rough sleeping or homelessness aren’t always able to access healthcare routinely and therefore can often have a range of health issues which can leave them at an increased risk of this virus.

“Following the recommendation by the JCVI local teams will now be able to prioritise this group for vaccination alongside priority group 6 and make sure fewer people fall seriously ill or die from COVID-19.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick added the Government had taken “unprecedented” action to look after the homeless during the pandemic.

He said: “We have taken unprecedented action to support the most vulnerable people in our society during the pandemic – housing 37,000 people at risk of rough sleeping through Everyone In and asking councils to make sure that all rough sleepers are registered with a GP and are factored into local area vaccination plans.”

More to follow…

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