Thank you for contacting me about teachers' access to the coronavirus vaccines.
I am delighted that three vaccines - Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/ AstraZeneca and Moderna - have been approved for use in the UK. We have been making great progress with our vaccination programme, giving us all clear hope that the end of the pandemic is in sight.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out guidance on priority groups for Covid-19 vaccination. The Committee has considered evidence on the risk of exposure and mortality by occupation and I am pleased that anyone aged over 50, including teachers, will be eligible for vaccination within the first phase of the programme. In addition, anyone who is under 50, but has an underlying health condition which puts them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality, including teachers, will be eligible for vaccination within group six of the first phase. I welcome that the Prime Minister has set a new target for all adults to have been offered a first vaccine dose by the end of July.
The JCVI has recommended that the vaccine programme proceed into phase two on the basis of age groups, with those aged 40 - 49 invited first once the initial priority phase has been completed. I understand your concerns about the vaccination of teachers, but rapid vaccine deployment is the most important way of increasing public health benefits against severe outcomes from Covid-19. As such, a strategy centred specifically on occupational groups would be more complex to deliver and may require new vaccine deployment structures which would slow down vaccine delivery. I therefore support the committee's recommendation to proceed with the vaccine programme on the basis of age groups.