Key workers set to be top of list in ‘phase two’ of vaccine roll out

“The first priority has been direct protection and that seems sensible,” Stephen Evans, a professor

“The first priority has been direct protection and that seems sensible,” Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the Telegraph.

“Protecting people who may be at lower risk of serious disease by virtue of being younger and healthy, but who are still at high risk of getting the disease is an obvious second priority.  

“If the new variant turns out to affect children a lot more, then teachers may consequently be at higher personal risk, but I’m not sure we have data to say this is, or is not, true,” he added. 

In the United States, where experts have long linked vaccine prioritisation to occupation, guidance was again updated last week. 

Although individual states will ultimately set priority guidelines, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that those 75 and older and essential workers should be at the front of the queue. 

This list includes first responders, teachers, food, agricultural, manufacturing workers, members of the US Postal Service, public transport drivers and supermarket staff.

“I think those who are at risk of being most severely ill and then those frontline staff [and] first responders who have most contact with the potentially infected… should be prioritised for vaccination,” Dr Julian Tang, a clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, told the Telegraph.

He said NHS ward staff, ambulance drivers, supermarket staff, transport workers and teachers should be included list of key workers.

“Can’t we do both in parallel?” Dr Tang added. “I think we can, now that we have the approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine – as long as they can manufacture enough vaccines to supply both groups. 

“But the logistics and practicalities of supplying and administering the vaccine nationally may make it difficult to cover multiple groups who are equally prioritised, in parallel,” he said.

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