Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Teachers should be vaccinated before schools reopen, top virologist argues
22 February 2021, 17:27
Teachers should be vaccinated before schools reopen on March 8, top virologist Dr Chris Smith has told LBC.
Dr Smith made the point in response to Boris Johnson announcing his "roadmap" out of lockdown, which he said struck "a more optimistic tone".
The Prime Minister laid out four steps to lifting restrictions in England, after weeks of the nation facing a third lockdown to tackle the spread of Covid-19.
All schools are set to reopen on March 8 under the Prime Minister's plan and secondary school children will be told to wear face masks in schools corridors and classrooms.
Dr Smith told LBC's Eddie Mair: "I have in the past said I do think that, given that there aren't that many teachers in the UK in terms of as a proportion of the population and given how many people we are vaccinating per day, it wouldn't actually be that difficult to just do the whole lot in one go and get ourselves classroom-ready for 8 March.
"I'm slightly surprised that hasn't been done. The flip side of this coin is...if you look at the data there isn't actually evidence to support the fact that teaching as a profession places people at a higher risk of succumbing to coronavirus."
However, after laying out both sides to the argument, Dr Smith confirmed that he is in favour of teachers being vaccinated before schools reopen next month.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson today also confirmed that pubs and restaurants will be permitted to open outdoors no earlier than April 12.
He also said that indoor hospitality will be allowed to open no earlier than May 17.