Coronavirus in Scotland: Scottish Government urged to prioritise teachers for vaccine ahead of school return

The Scottish Government has been urged to prioritise the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to teachers ahead of a partial return to schools on Monday.

Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Picture: Lisa Ferguson

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed this week that some pupils will return to schools on Monday, including children between the ages of four and eight and senior exam students who need to complete practical work.

Ms Sturgeon was asked at First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday why teachers have been asked to return to schools without being vaccinated.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: “Surely we must ask whether it is safe for those teachers who have not been vaccinated to be sent back into full classrooms without that protection. Does it not stand to reason that, if reopening schools is a high priority, vaccinating the staff who enable those schools to function must be a priority, too?”

Ms Sturgeon replied that teachers will be tested twice weekly, and that the risk of Covid-19 transmission is lower in younger age groups in schools.

She added that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is still finalising a guide for priority vaccination groups below the age of 50, and it is not yet known whether occupational groups will form part of this.

“We will continue to consider the matter with the other nations of the UK and we will set out as soon as we can what the approach will be once we have vaccinated the initial JCVI groups and whether there is an order of priority to be followed for the rest of the population,” she said.

The First Minister faced calls to prioritise teachers and other occupational groups such as transport workers, police officers and the military from several MSPs in parliament.

It comes as Ms Sturgeon announced that 1,320,074 people in Scotland have been given a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine as of Wednesday morning, with 32,070 first doses given on Tuesday.

Tuesday also saw the highest number of second doses on record, at just under 3,300. This brings the number of Scots to receive two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to over 20,000 for the first time.

The pace of delivery of second doses is expected to ramp up in the next few weeks, as Scotland reaches 10 weeks since the first doses were given.

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