Michael Gove hints at vaccinating teachers over half term in bid to reopen schools

Michael Gove gets grilled on when teachers will be vaccinated

The Cabinet Office Minister reiterated Boris Johnson’s statement yesterday which said schools themselves are safe but the issue rests on teachers and pupils who act as disease vectors. Mr Gove was quizzed if he would support the rollout of jabs in the February half term beginning February 17. The MP for Surrey Heath said he would support the vaccinations if the scientific advice backed it. 

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, host Naga Munchetty asked Mr Gove: “The Prime Minister said yesterday that schools are safe.

“And there was clarity offered that schools, the environment, the building, the structure, the infrastructure that has been put in place, the teachers who have worked with local authorities to put in place, they are safe.

“But nevertheless, they are vectors for transmission.

“The children are vectors for transmission, with that in mind, hence them not being open, with that in mind, Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour party, has called for teachers to be vaccinated over the February half term, is that something that can be put in place? 

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“There are half a million teachers roughly, could they be vaccinated in that half term?”

The minister said it was right to address the safety of the school buildings themselves but said the Government wanted to focus on the most vulnerable and to vaccinate those in the top priority groups. 

Ms Munchetty added the Government’s position was clear but said: “But the self-imposed target date is February 14, so that’s before the half-term period.”

The Government is aiming to vaccinate the top four priority groups, or 15 million people, by mid-February.

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The February half term is between February 17 – 21.   

She continued: “Is it being considered that if that target is met, and we’ve been told we’re online to meet, then there is time for the half-term before March 8 before schools reopen for half a million teachers to be vaccinated? 

“Is that something, and now is the time to consider it, that you are looking into?”

The MP replied: “We will make sure we take advice from our scientists who know best and who know how to protect us on who should be priortised.

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“It’s already the case a significant number of those already vaccinated will be teachers and our frontline workers within those groups which are targeted.”

The BBC journalist then asked: “So if they (the scientists) said yes, you would be prepared to do it?”

Mr Gove quickly responded: “Of course!”

The Prime Minister announced schools may open on March 8 at the earliest but there are no plans for other restriction to be lifted as of yet. 

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