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Hundreds of teachers in London ‘book Covid vaccine through NHS booking link sent on Whatsapp’

Hundreds of teachers in London ‘book Covid vaccine through NHS booking link sent on Whatsapp’ – as parts of the country begin jabbing over-60s

  • Staff member at London school said they were able to book a Covid-19 jab
  • They added they were not in the top priority groups for the vaccines rollout
  • Labour has repeatedly called for teachers to be bumped up the priority list
  • But ministers have so far resisted the calls, saying they are following the JCVI 

Hundreds of teachers in London are booking coronavirus vaccinations using an NHS link, it has been suggested, while other areas are rolling out jabs to over-60s.

A staff member at a school in the capital, who has not been named, claimed today he had secured an appointment after receiving access to the system via Whatsapp. 

‘A friend of ours at another school had received an email from their friend,’ said the teacher, who has no underlying health conditions and is not over 70 years old.

‘She quoted the email the person had received apparently from a senior leader at their school. The quote was that Barts Health Authority was vaccinating teachers with their leftover vaccines and then it went on to give a link from the Barts booking system and a password to use.’ 

It comes amid reports over-60s are now receiving their first doses of the vaccine in Greater Manchester, despite over-80s in the area still waiting for their shots.

NHS England figures only 86.5 per cent of over-80s in the area have been vaccinated, alongside 88.1 per cent of 75 to 79-year-olds and 56 per cent of those aged 70 to 74 years old.

Labour has repeatedly called for teachers to be bumped up the jabs priority list, arguing it could get children back behind their desks earlier.

But Boris Johnson has said even with a successful vaccines rollout classrooms in England will remain empty until March 8 at the earliest, when ministers hope high infection rates will have plummeted to minute levels. 

Labour won a majority of seats in the capital during the last general election, managing to cling on to 49 of 73 while its support collapsed in the North.

Moves by health officials to give shots to those outside the top four priority groups will raise questions over a vaccines postcode lottery, with some areas steaming ahead in the rollout.

NHS data suggests there are still almost 300,000 over-80s waiting for their first dose of the vaccine in England. 

Boris Johnson has said everyone over-70, in the most vulnerable groups, in care homes and NHS frontline staff will get their first dose by mid-February.

Ministers have so far resisted calls to bump teachers up the vaccination list, saying they will follow the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommendations.

Speaking in an anonymous capacity to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the teacher said: ‘A friend of ours at another school had received an email from their friend. She quoted the email the person had received apparently from a senior leader at their school. 

‘The quote was that Barts Health Authority was vaccinating teachers with their leftover vaccines and then it went on to give a link from the Barts booking system and a password to use.

‘I was [able to book an appointment]. I was sceptical that it would accept the appointment right up to the point it was confirmed.

‘I thought during the booking process, if it wasn’t something I was entitled to, I thought there would be something that would close it down or would refuse the appointment. 

‘But I went through the booking system and entered my details, my school details, my job details and then received a confirmation of the appointment itself.’ 

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