Luke Pollard MP Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
Plymouth’s teachers, teaching assistants and school staff should get the Covid-19 vaccine over the February half-term.
Luke is calling on the Government to use the natural break of the February half term to vaccinate all the city’s school staff, allowing three weeks to build immunity before reopening schools on 8 March.
Labour is calling for keyworkers in critical professions to be added to the first phase of the vaccination programme, alongside JCVI categories 5-9. This comes as Keir Starmer pressed the Prime Minister to vaccinate teachers and support staff in February half-term as part of a national effort to get children back in the classroom.
The half term break follows the Government’s target date for the top four priority groups to be vaccinated.
The call comes as this week the ONS published new statistics showing that those who work in settings with regular exposure to Covid-19 and in close proximity to others have higher Covid-19 death rates when compared to the rest of the population. While the first phase of vaccination rollout has been rightly been focused on reducing deaths and hospitalisations, Labour are calling for vaccinations for keyworkers most exposed and most likely to transmit the virus, once those at highest risk of severe illness are most protected by mid-February.
We all want to see Plymouth’s children return to school, especially as homeschooling can put extra pressure on working families. The vaccine is the best way of making sure schools can reopen safely and effectively.
“I want to see our city’s schools safely reopen as soon as possible. The best way of doing this is to prioritise school staff for the vaccination as soon as the priority groups have had the jab. The natural break at half term would allow immunity to be built up before schools reopen in March.
“The vaccine is the only way out of the horrors of the pandemic and is the best way to safely reopen schools.
“Adopting this plan put forward by Keir Starmer would help ensure schools are safe to reopen, reassuring our city’s amazing school staff, and offer our children a return to the classroom. This is a good, sensible proposal and I hope the Prime Minister adopts it.”