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Should teachers be prioritised for vaccination over half-term?

There is much in the news today about vaccinating school teachers and staff during the half-term break to allow schools to return to normality faster, having a positive impact on children’s education and mental health.

Britain’s top schools have unveiled a bold plan to vaccinate the country’s entire teaching staff and get pupils back into the classroom.

Headteachers have drawn up a detailed blueprint to get the educational workforce, including support staff, inoculated over the February half-term week.

The ambitious scheme could prove a political lifeline to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he faces mounting calls to put teachers at the front of the queue for jabs and prevent more catastrophic damage to the prospects of millions of locked-down children.

Under the emergency scheme, 150 independent schools and state academies would become vaccination hubs with medically trained staff inoculating school workers for 16 hours a day.

The plan’s architects claim that ‘most or even all’ of England’s one million school and nursery teachers, teaching assistants and support staff, including dinner ladies and caretakers, could be vaccinated within the week

By using the stocks of the vaccine on these key workers the trade-off would mean the delay in vaccinating the vulnerable groups set out in the vaccination programme.

The plan is being backed by the Leader of the Labour party. Boris Johnson has challenged  Sir Keir Starmer to “explain which vaccines he would take from which vulnerable groups” in order to achieve the vaccination of teachers. He claimed the prime minister “hasn’t got a plan” for the reopening of schools and said a “first step” should be the vaccination of all teachers and school staff during the “window” of next month’s half-term.

What are your views? Do you think this makes sense? Is the vaccination trade-off a good idea? If the vulnerable people are shielding does it make more sense to use the vaccine stocks in this way?

Should teachers be prioritised for vaccination over half-term?

710 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Sylvania
16th Feb 2021
2
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Let the children get back to school if it makes the teachers feel safer get them vaccinated
Jacpal
11th Feb 2021
0
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Why are teachers considered as people with more priority than others in the public sector, police, shop workers, etc have been working really hard out in the community and not been able to shield away like teachers, they just get on with it, !
EllenMay
11th Feb 2021
0
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I am a supply teacher but am critically extremely vulnerable. I haven't been able to work, or obtain any form of income, since March 2020 for fear of catching this, with local schools banning protective equipment, masks, etc. This has forced me into a situation of dependency on my partner and our relationship is already difficult.

As a supply teacher a vaccination would offer me protection and I would be able to return to working in schools and to help where help is desperately needed in catching young people up in their education.

Teachers have been expected on occasions during this pandemic to continue as if nothing is happening around them. They are expected to face up to some 150 students a day in secondary, entirely without protection.

The teaching unions are rightly against teachers being exposed to a potentially fatal virus in this way. If you want to get the unions and their members on side, the kids back in school, and parents freed to continue working, then VACCINATE NOW.
HappyHippie
6th Feb 2021
1
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my daughter-in-law is a teacher and has worked thoughout the pandemic, she had the virus a few months ago and passed it on to her family, luckily they are all OK now... Teachers are really vunerable at the moment as they go into a classroom everyday to teach the children of key workers, if they want the schools to stay open for these kids then they should protect the staff.
maggie71245
5th Feb 2021
3
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Surely teachers are key workers.
viking
6th Feb 2021
1
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And many others Maggie, including police who risk their lives by being spat on and coughed upon. Without school caretakers the schools would not open up anyway, maybe they should be a priority case as well, after all they are working in the school area..
In this thread there have been so many different prioritised sections of society that have been put forward that there could now be a shortage of vaccine to go round !!!
ginntonic
5th Feb 2021
3
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Teachers should have been offered the vaccine earlier than this.
EllenMay
11th Feb 2021
0
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Absolutely correct. My daughter's in laws are both teachers in their early 60s and have been given NO protection. I am a CEV supply teacher - again NO protection so unable to work.
cehodgson
5th Feb 2021
1
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All key workers, teachers, supermarket staff, etc should be vaccinated. They are vulnerable to both getting and spreading covid.
Parents would feel more confident about children returning to school if staff were vaccinated
JaneS91
5th Feb 2021
1
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My daughter teaches in a Special Needs School, the children are lovely but do not understand social distancing and often when having "meltdowns" need restraining. Many of them are non verbal and cannot tell you if they are feeling unwell, This makes then highly vulnerable and they should be offered the vaccine.
Moira56
5th Feb 2021
0
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If everyone followed the distancing rules there wouldn't be a need for prioritizing who gets the vaccine. I'm sure a school is capable of working out a solution for teachers to come in and do lessons without having contact with lots of other teachers.
HappyHippie
6th Feb 2021
1
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you can't distance the teachers from the kids they teach, my daughter-in-law teaches teenagers would could carry the virus, she wears a mask and a visor but it didn't stop her getting the virus a few months ago... She has to sit in a class room with every window wide open so they all have to wear their coats... In a school its very difficult to keep social distance, they have to pass in coridoors.
Moira56
8th Feb 2021
0
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Other than NHS staff who are trying to save lives no one is more important that they should jump the queue. The teachers will just have to wait in line and schools cope as best as they can.
EllenMay
11th Feb 2021
1
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That is a perfectly good question but unfortunately teaching isn't like that. Primary teachers not only teach but toilet and clean children, dress children, feed children and sort out falls and grazes etc. It is a very close relationship. Small children are very clingy and needy. In secondary the sheer numbers prevent social distancing. A single teacher can see more or less than 150 students a day, sometimes more if 6 classes a day. Imagine this over a week. Kids are packed into classrooms. The exposure is horrendous.
EllenMay
11th Feb 2021
0
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Absolutely agree on every point you make.
jeanmark
4th Feb 2021
2
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I think that many of us recognise that there are a number of groups that are believed to be at risk from developing Covid, but the programme has to have a systems in place. It appears logical to start with those who are most likely to have to be admitted to hospital, with serious infection and possibly die as a result, than younger healthier individuals regardless of occupation, other than front line NHS workers who are exposed constantly to higher viral counts. Older people are by virtue of age, at a higher risk because the immune systems became less efficient with age. But it is recognised that there are other factors that also have to be taken into account, and they have, such as clinical extremely vulnerable. Anyone who has to work, regardless of what that work is, may be exposed to the virus, but it is an impossible task to expect everyone to be vaccinated at the same rate as those at higher risk, even if risk factors are identified but considered mild to moderate risk.

I appreciate the concerns about children's eduction and their mental health, but I can assure you that older and vulnerable people who have had to shield for nearly a year - that's confined to your house and garden (if you have one)- are also experiencing problems with their mental health. No one is immune from the problems a pandemic brings, but until we all learn to respect and support each other, how will we survive.
ArchieUK
4th Feb 2021
1
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Reading a article a few days ago,
It stongly suggested that the staff room was a lot more dangerous than the class room
Maz99
4th Feb 2021
2
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I think if we are to get children back to school Teachers should be vaccinated.
I also think anyone who has to go out to work and mix should be vaccinated. . I know people who have been out to work from week 1, most are having to take their holidays now, and they are more likely to catch it.
It’s difficult, but at least me and my husband can stay at home.
KeithH79
3rd Feb 2021
1
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Absolutely. My daughter is a teacher, well now a baby sitter for so called key workers. Totally stressed out and having to do covid tests twice a week and then having to home school her own two sons. Jumping the queue?? All workers in medical teaching retail (of any sort) and factory workers, all building workers police and security should be priority. They are the ones that will be keeping this country alive financially 90 year olds protected in care homes can wait. Me at 64?? i will happily give my vaccination slot to a 20-30 year old. I to can wait.
HappyHippie
6th Feb 2021
1
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well said, my daughter-in-law is also a teacher, she caught the virus a few monthes agao and infected her family, they are all OK now, but it could have been much worse, she teaches teenagers who seem to think its ok to hang out with their friends, but they can still carry the virus, if they want them to do the jod they should protect them x
Billythequiche
3rd Feb 2021
-2
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You could make a case for lots of groups and each would have pros and cons. If you were to believe the tabloids, a lot of them are less interested in the children and more in themselves. Objections were raised against online teaching citing privacy issues and then some were offering private online sessions at extravagant cost. All sectors would have promoters and detractors.
Personally, I would promote shop workers and then police.
viking
3rd Feb 2021
1
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Quite agree Billy, there are so many different groups/deservers who we can all put forward as being priority cases and should be right at the front of the list.
What this does show is that everyone is entitled to have their windge in this country, this is democracy.
Billythequiche
4th Feb 2021
0
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Good for you viking, great that there are still people who know that Democracy is not a dirty word.
Stay safe.
gobang
2nd Feb 2021
1
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teachers are working over time at the moment and when back in school they are not protected
swaneldo
1st Feb 2021
3
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Teachers alone do not keep a school running - I do wish all these headlines would remember that or is it the old saying the squeakiest wheels get all the attention!
viking
1st Feb 2021
1
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Agree, all the headlines from the teachers union seem to very blinkered, which I suppose is only natural. But without the unmentionables there would be no open schools.
jeanmark
2nd Feb 2021
1
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swaneldo and viking, although I agree that teachers alone do not keep a school running, are they not the ones that have the closest and prolonged contact with pupils? Nurses and doctors do not run the NHS alone, but they the ones mentioned on daily basis because of their prolonged and intimate contact with patients.
swaneldo
3rd Feb 2021
2
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Morning Jeanmark
It is definitely not teachers who have the closest and prolonged contact. I worked in a school for 16 years and there are many others who are just as close to students throughout every day helping them with their work; looking after them if they are poorly; sitting next to them in class and assisting them throughout every lesson. It's a misconception that teachers do it all in a school and all other staff have no dealings with the students. It is a multi-team effort; teachers alone do not keep schools functioning.
jeanmark
3rd Feb 2021
1
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Hi swaneldo, thanks for your response, I did include teaching assistant in my statement as I made an assumption only these spent the most prolonged and intimate time with students. But then I did go to school many years ago when we only ever saw teachers and I accept I was wrong in my thinking.
Tr1sh
30th Jan 2021
2
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The Government started on a plan for the vaccine and I think they should persevere with it rather than change things again. The UK vaccination program seems to be doing well so hopefully everyone who wants it will soon be vaccinated.
Seaford12
29th Jan 2021
5
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Although I think teachers should be vaccinated soon I do not think they should jump ahead of the elderly who are more vulnerable.
tigreisis
29th Jan 2021
1
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Of course they should all key workers should.
SueB3243
28th Jan 2021
7
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Definitely not, why should they jump the queue? Schools should remain closed. Children are the biggest spreaders of the virus, they usually don’t suffer too badly with symptoms & often are positive without any symptoms thus spreading it throughout the family, especially to vulnerable members.
Wilf
29th Jan 2021
2
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Yes but the only problem is a whole generation is missing out on proper learning
SueB3243
29th Jan 2021
4
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No they are not. They have home schooling with the teachers. There is plenty of time later to catch up. Preventing the spread of the virus is much more important . If necessary don’t have so many holidays
Wilf
29th Jan 2021
3
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Yes but the home teaching is not efficient in many cases especially for kids who are underprivileged. We all need to get vaccinated but I think it would help society in general as children are all our future.
jeanmark
31st Jan 2021
1
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SueB3243, I'm not sure evidence to date has identified a definitive answer to the question of whether children are more or less likely to get or pass on the virus. I believe the overall trend from current evidence suggests that children play a minimal role in its transmission until further studies are completed. Do you have more up to date evidence?
jeanmark
31st Jan 2021
1
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Have you ever tried sharing one tablet with three children, all in different years of schooling? It is not ideal and also compromises the education of the less fortunate. It is also worth remembering that teachers themselves are having to home school their own pupils, how can they support their own children at the same time.
Moira56
8th Feb 2021
1
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EllenMay
11th Feb 2021
1
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Kids may be missing out on learning but that is beyond the control of anyone, let alone teachers. Many adults are losing businesses, relationships, marriages, even older parents. A child's education is critically important but losing lives is far more so. They are getting the best possible support online, as far as humanly possible. Someone said these teachers are teaching online and charging privately. When exactly is that time available? Do these people realise how long it takes to devise a lesson, never mind have to do it all over again to adapt it to be delivered online? To learn these skills in the first pllace.

I think what angers me as a teacher is the way that if someone else is furloughed on nearly all of their salary, no one complains. But if a teacher isn't seen to be working his/her socks off, everyone complains. There was even a "snitch line" which parents could use to report teachers. Does this exist for other professions, I wonder?
Wilf
11th Feb 2021
0
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Yes I agree with you. My daughter is a teacher and she is working harder than ever and has had to go into school for the past year and never complied once. Many kids though are really losing out on their schooling and will be way behind on their education. As usual in life it's the more disadvantaged kids. All of them need laptops and boardband asap as I do not think these lockdowns are completely going to go away.
JE
28th Jan 2021
7
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To be honest I am fed up of hearing about all these people who think that they should be prioritised for the vaccine over others. The order of priority has been determined based on the level of risk of becoming seriously ill and possible death and not by just catching the virus.
I agree that there is an argument for teachers to be considered along with such as police, fire brigade, shop workers and others that have direct contact with large numbers of people before other groups but NOT at the expense of older people and those considered clinically vulnerable. Critical workers who are in the older age groups and those considered more vulnerable will get theirs along with the rest in the priority groups anyway. I am afraid it’s just a waiting game and we all have to be patient until it’s our turn.
Rozjoy57
28th Jan 2021
1
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I work in school as a Teaching Assistant. We have been in school during lockdown, despite most people’s perception that school is closed.
I know I would feel so much safer having the vaccination. I love my job, but the children do not keep distanced, and we are therefore at greater risk of catching Covid19. We don’t wear PPE and until January, we were told we didn’t need to wear masks either - as if we have an amazing tolerance to this horrible disease. So yes please allow us the vaccine soon!
Wilf
29th Jan 2021
2
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I agree with you and think all teachers should be vaccinated asap and the kids can get back to school
joan boakes
28th Jan 2021
7
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I don't think teachers should be vaccinated during half term or be able to jump the queue at all. We have been told that the science shows older people are more at risk of serious illness and death from covid. Young teachers are at far less risk. Teachers in the older age groups and those in vulnerable health categories will rightly get theirs earlier. Let's just stick to the priority order that has already been decided upon. I am 68 and waiting for my turn which I believe will be group 5. I am eager to get myself protected because I am the sole carer for my 98 year old mother and also help to care for a disabled grandchild. If I become seriously ill and unable to care for others it would have a big impact on my family members. Everyone can put forward a case for being put further up the queue but we need to be patient and wait our turn. I do think there should be more testing in schools including pupils which would make it easier to control any outbreaks. One of my daughters works in a special needs school and is currently being tested twice a week. My Mum has had her first vaccine and that is a relief to me.
EllenMay
11th Feb 2021
0
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But what about older teachers, like myself? I can't get a state pension as "too young", but can't work in schools because I am critically vulnerable. Still waiting for any sign of a vaccine however before I can start work again for the first time since March!! My daughter's vulnerable in laws aged 60+ have just caught covid - both teachers.
Kes
28th Jan 2021
12
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The whole point of the vaccination programme, as set out by age etc, is to protect the old and vulnerable and those more likely to be seriously ill or die. Also to protect the NHS, the people who we all need to be fit and well in order to care for us. People seem to have forgotten that, in their impatience and desire to queue jump because they do this or that important job.
I really can appreciate that getting the kids and teachers back into school is vital. Even if the teachers were given a vaccination around half term, they wouldn’t get the second one for a further 12 weeks, under the current programme, and it would be a few weeks after that, that they could expect to have full protection, and even that is an unknown for us all at the moment. Is giving the teachers a vaccination jab right now, going to immediately mean it’s safe to reopen schools fully right now. I’m not so sure. Anyway, I’m happy to wait in line for mine and will take it willingly when it comes, twice. Take care everyone.
JulieB688
28th Jan 2021
1
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Agree completely. This government is too keen to swing in the wind of public opinion. I was prepared to wait my turn, but with every week my turn seems to move two weeks further away. Time to start shouting at my MP, I think, or it will never get to be my turn.
jeffsoo
28th Jan 2021
6
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Vaccinate teachers by all means after me, I am 70 and suffer from COPD not had my jab yet.
jeffsoo
9th Feb 2021
0
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I and my 73 year old wife got our first jabs today
Luise
28th Jan 2021
6
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As a 57 year old I would happily take a back seat so that priority could be given to other groups but why is it all about teachers? Food shop workers, I would suggest, deal with a larger more risky demographic, police officers are more at risk. I could go on. This is more about the strength of their union...and BTW UK press it's not 'the government ' who decide who gets vaccinated and when, it's an independent group.
Roof Top Crow
28th Jan 2021
3
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Vaccinating teachers, teaching assistants and staff working in schools is not about their health, it is about getting children back to school.
Children need to have the best education available and being in school is the place it will happen. It will not happen at home, despite the best efforts of parents and the BBC. We need the generations in schools and universities to have the best education they can have.
In no order of priority, they are the members of society that will be the futures doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, skilled workers, front line staff, drivers, electricians, hairdressers, hospitality workers and so on.
This dreadful pandemic will pass and it will take us many many years to recover. We need the generations in education to be educated and ready to take on the recovery. Silversurfers like me and presumably you are not the generations that will be part of the rebuilding of the future

One more thing. For many children, the most sensible adults in their lives are the teachers at school. We already know that the incidence of child abuse and neglect at home is massively increasing. School is very often the first place that abuse, neglect and hunger in children is recognised and action is taken
Wilf
28th Jan 2021
1
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I agree with you Roof Top. In fact my daughter is a teacher for 10 year olds and many are at a disadvantage as they do not have the correct equipment like laptops or their parents are out at work etc etc. I saw on the news last night a lady with 4 small children and trying to look after them and teach them looked near impossible. As you rightly saw these kids are the future and in my view they should be looked after which means giving teachers...all of them..the vaccination asap!
HildaB8
28th Jan 2021
1
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I think teachers should be vaccinated asap.That way children can get back to school.
I am 62 and my husband 66. We are obviously both eager to get our vaccine, but we are both retired, in good health and have no commitments which require us to leave the house so we are happy to wait a few more weeks.
As a retired infant teacher I know exactly the risks that teachers put themselves in every day.
Wilf
29th Jan 2021
1
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I agree with you I am the same age and isolating and would happily give my place to a teacher
viking
28th Jan 2021
4
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Knowing the usual, teachers may well be considered to be a prioritised section, but there will be calls for bus drivers, long distance lorry drivers, dustmen, postmen, road sweepers, etc. etc., All of these people are essential, but as the list gets longer so the supplies of vaccine get scarcer for others who are considered to be non essential.
jenkinhill
28th Jan 2021
3
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Binmen, bus drivers, road transport workers, postmen and police officers are just a few examples of workers who are at much greater risk of catching/dying from Covid-19 than school workers. So they should have priority over teachers.
ReneeP3
28th Jan 2021
-5
Thanks for voting!
Certainly they should. They are on the frontline too. They are working closely in a daily basis with the little darlings who can be carrying the virus.
The comment from one of the government officials yesterday made me smile......not!
The children could take the virus back into their homes but would be less likely to pass it to their teachers. Why? Oh of course its a clever virus that knows who the teachers are and wont infect them! Really!
Get the teachers vaccinated now!
BarbaraG1
28th Jan 2021
3
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I would have no problem with earlier vaccination for teachers and all key workers if that was what had been promised in the beginning. Yet again, promises made and broken and certain sections of society left to struggle on.
Aberdeen7
28th Jan 2021
9
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As someone aged 68 to be 69 in May I don’t want to be pushed down the queue for my vaccine so a healthy young teacher can have one

The vulnerable groups were promised that they would be vaccinated first, the government has kept its word for the four top groups and they are now all being given their vaccines at the moment so for people a few years younger has the risk of serious illness or even death gone away if we catch the virus, I don’t think so!!!

The only think keeping me going through this dire lockdown was knowing that I would be getting my vaccine around end Feb/early March and could feel safe to go out once the restrictions are lifted

If the government let our generation down by allowing healthy teachers to jump the queue I think it’s despicable also teachers are no more likely to catch the virus than any other workers so are the government now going to put all workers in front of us and just leave us to continue to worry, I’m sorry for going on a bit but I feel so strongly about this, it’s making me very anxious
JohnA877
28th Jan 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I am 65 and my daughter and son are teachers. My daughter could Covid from a pupil at school she and many others had to isolate. That was three months ago and she is still not 100% fit. Although she is still teaching. If the government are hell bent on getting kids back to school teachers need to be vaccinated.
JulieB688
28th Jan 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Agree completely. My husband's 69, but our area is vaccinating from a very slow start; he might get his mid-February. We were in groups 5 and 7, but now I'm in Group 8 with an extra 6 or 7 million people between him and me. This government will give in, they're a bunch of jellyfish, and they've lost two votes in this household.
Munsterlander
28th Jan 2021
4
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A good idea for once. If Boris did this we could get the kids back to school where they should be and it is only a weeks delay in vaccinating the rest of the population and you have solved one major hurdle in this whole terrible situation.
MrsPat
28th Jan 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
It sounds like a sensible plan to me. Parents are at home trying to teach children and it is very difficult.

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