Teachers should be vaccinated “sooner rather than later”, Lichfield and Burntwood’s MP has said.
Michael Fabricant made his comments during a debate in the House of Commons around the reopening of schools.
Most pupils are currently learning from home across the country due to lockdown restrictions.
But with the UK COVID-19 death toll passing 100,000, Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said it would be “foolhardy” to set a date for when students could return to class – and he called for consideration to be given to vaccinating adults working in school settings.
“Caution should be exercised when setting the opening date for schools.
“While I recognise the educational cost and mental strain the closure of schools is having on children and their parents, it would be foolhardy to set artificial deadlines for the reopening of schools in this pandemic.
“I also believe that teachers and other adult staff at schools should be vaccinated against COVID to prevent contagion spreading.”Michael Fabricant MP
Mr Fabricant’s comments follow a question he asked of the Schools Minister in a House of Commons debate.
He asked Nick Gibb MP:
“Can I just point out that today is a day where we have surpassed 100,000 deaths in the United Kingdom due to COVID.
“With 37,000 people currently in hospital with COVID-19, now is not the time to set arbitrary deadlines for the opening of schools, or set arbitrary targets which means that schools can then be opened.
“We must go by the medical advice.
“And in connection with that, may I ask the Minister – does he not think it’s a good idea if we were to vaccinate everyone who is an adult who works in school sooner rather than later, to stop public transmission of COVID?”Michael Fabricant MP
The Schools Minister replied:
“The thoughts of everyone are with the families and friends of people that we have lost during this pandemic.
“He is right therefore to point out that there are 37,000 people in our hospitals at the moment with this virus, which is higher than it was at the peak of the virus last year.
“And that’s why we have to take these decisions about the national lockdown very seriously, and we have to rely on the advice of SAGE, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England – and we have to look at the pressure on the NHS when reaching those decisions.
“He is also right to point to the issue of vaccines. The priority initially is on mortality, which means that they focus on age, where the rates of mortality are higher, but once we are through that Phase 1, then we will be looking at occupations, and the Department for Education will certainly be making the case to the Department of Health for staff in the education sector.”Schools Minister Nick Gibb