Plans for school hubs to vaccinate teachers

The syringe is filled with the Covid-19 vaccine at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Pict

A Norfolk academy trust has signed a letter that details plans on how school vaccine hubs could help vaccinate teaching staff. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

School leaders have said dedicated coronavirus vaccine hubs could see all teachers and childcare workers vaccinated by mid-February.

The Ormiston Academies Trust's CEO Nick Hudson has co-signed a letter alongside leaders of independent schools' group Cognita, Academies Enterprise Trust and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference to the government recommending local hubs should be set up in schools.

The OAT has several schools in Norfolk.

The letter said leaders from state and independent education sectors have been working to create a plan to enable the government to vaccinate all teachers and childcare workers before mid-February.

The groups said they were confident the plan could achieve national reach in a "very short timescale" and would also draw upon its parent volunteering community.

The leaders wrote: "As the Government works hard to bring Covid under control, we believe it is vital that alongside the current vaccination programme for the most at risk, the other greatest urgency is to get schools open again. Vital for the future of our children and young people.

"We have many schools that would be ideal “hubs” for managing the vaccination process. Such schools have refrigeration, facilities and space to enable the safe flow of people and safe storage of vaccines.

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"Moreover, we have a large force of medically trained members of staff with the ability to administer the plan in line with Government compliance – a highly effective parallel implementation force that may have been overlooked, but is highly capable, expert and available for mobilisation at very short notice."

This week, Norfolk County Council confirmed it is moving ahead with its plans to get jabs to staff working with some of the county's most vulnerable children.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COV

Health Secretary Matt Hancock. - Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The health secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday teachers had a "good shout" of being high on the coronavirus vaccine priority list once the most clinically vulnerable have received their jabs.

Speaking on Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Hancock said: "The challenge is the supply of vaccine, supply is the rate-limiting factor.

"The question is who should have each dose as it comes in... and we've taken the decision, quite rightly, to go through in order of clinical need, starting with those who are most likely to die from this disease.

"We're going through those who are clinically vulnerable... and after that there's a perfectly reasonable debate to be had about who should go in what order next.

"Teachers have got a good shout to be very high on the list and those discussions are going on."

Scott Lyons joint division secretary for Norfolk NUT

Scott Lyons joint division secretary for Norfolk NUT - Credit: Archant

Scott Lyons, district secretary of the Norfolk branch of the National Education Union, said: "The NEU welcomes vaccinations for all school staff.

It is important staff are aware of the jab being a partial vaccinations. We want the government to respect the BMA concerns of the second jab being delayed. 

"More importantly, when we are all vaccinated, that doesn't stop schools from being centres of transmission.

"While rates are high and children are passing the virus to each other and infecting each others' families, we may be safe but the community transmission aspect still stands.

"We can't risk creating a safe school for staff and a Covid transmission hub for the community we serve."

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