'Vaccinate teachers so schools can reopen after lockdown' says Tower Hamlets mayor

'Teachers priority for vaccines' says mayor

Teachers must be the priority for vaccines, the mayor urges. - Credit: Mike Brooke

A call for all school teachers and staff to get Covid-19 vaccines early has been made by the mayor of Tower Hamlets because of high risk in schools. 

The plea in a letter to the prime minister comes in the wake of the death of Marner Primary School’s headteacher Nick Hague, despite recovering from coronavirus. 

Staff should be given priority for immunisation to allow schools to reopen safely when lockdown is eventually lifted, Mayor John Biggs says in his letter to Downing Street. 

Nick Hague, 53, died after Covid recovery

Nick Hague, 53, died after recovering from Covid - Credit: Marner School

The virus had already struck at Mr Hague’s school in Bromley-by-Bow with staff ill or having to isolate, which forced him to close down early before the holidays. He fell ill, but had recovered. However, he visited his family for Christmas and died suddenly. 

John Biggs... "The challenge is acute for parents who don’t work at home."

John Biggs said: 'The challenge is acute for parents who don’t work at home or live in overcrowded homes.' - Credit: Mike Brooke

Mr Biggs wants the government to carry out scientific analysis to understand the impact of Covid-19 outbreaks in schools. 

“Families are facing incredibly difficult situations as youngsters are once again told to ‘home school’,” he said. 

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“The challenge is acute for parents who don’t work at home or those who live in overcrowded homes. The government says its priority is reopening schools — but we’ve no idea how they plan to achieve that.” 

Giving school staff early vaccinations would “make a big difference”, the mayor insists. 

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It could help limit how long schools need to stay closed, alongside frequent testing of pupils and better scientific evidence on how the virus spreads in schools. 

But the mayor has welcomed the government’s decision to close schools for the moment. 

He described the closures as “a last resort” which was necessary, with the steep rise in Covid cases in London. 

He added: “Any strategy for getting young people back to school must include prioritising teachers and staff for vaccination.”  

The government is being pressed by the town hall for analysis to understand how schoolchildren transmit the virus to more vulnerable groups, including teachers, despite being likely to be asymptomatic. 

Schools are only opening for children of key workers, while the rest are having to learn through online classes. 

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