Teaching unions and police officers have been angered by the Government’s move to continue the rollout of coronavirus vaccines in age order, rather than prioritising the frontline professions. It comes as the PM predicts that working from home won’t last.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended pans for the next stage of the UK vaccination programme by arguing on Friday it is the “fastest and simplest way to roll out the jabs”.
He said the view of the Government and its advisers was that “the right thing to do, the moral thing to do, is to make sure that we save the most lives”.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that vaccination in order of age remains the quickest way to cut deaths, with age still a dominant risk factor for serious illness and death from Covid-19.
This means that phase two of the vaccine rollout, which is expected to begin in April, will start with people aged 40 to 49 before moving on to younger age groups.
Teaching unions have reacted angrily to the news, while the national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said it was a “deep and damaging betrayal” of police officers, which “will not be forgotten”.
Return to office?
Johnson told an audience at a rail industry conference that he did not expect to see a permanent shift towards working from home.
Addressing them via video link, he said: “I know that some people may imagine that all conferences are going be like this, held over Zoom, Teams or what have you and we’ve got to prepare for a new age in which people don’t move around, do things re-motely, they don’t commute any more.
“I don’t believe it. Not for a moment. In a few short months, if all goes to plan, we in the UK are going to be reopening our economy. And then believe me the British people will be consumed once again with their desire for the genuine face-to-face meeting that makes all the difference to the deal or whatever it is.
“Never mind seeing our loved ones, going on holiday or whatever.”