CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Camden Council press for teacher vaccine jabs

Deputy chief executive says "one measure" could unlock education

30 January, 2021 — By Richard Osley

Martin Pratt [Justin Thomas]

THE Town Hall’s deputy chief executive has said he has spoken directly to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson about getting a Covid vaccine to teachers and school staff.

Martin Pratt told a council committee meeting on Monday: “It’s absolutely right that the first priority of the vaccination programme is to prevent people dying and therefore focusing on those who are most vulnerable and most likely to die or be seriously ill.”

But he added: “Once you get beyond that point, [there is] the importance of school staff being vaccinated – not just for their protection ­but that is a point where you are able to, through that one measure, open education and begin to address the deficits.”

Mr Pratt had been asked questions about what was the “roadmap” for schools reopening and about the difficulties faced by children trying to work from home; a large number are still without full access to laptops or wifi connections.

Labour councillor Oliver Lewis had asked whether Camden was pushing for teacher vaccinations.

“We are raising that at a regional level and a national level,” said Mr Pratt. “I am in constant contact – it seems – with the Department for Education: both in my Camden role but also as chair of the London Association of Directors of Children’s Services and I have spoke to the Secretary of State about the vaccination of school staff in a meeting only two weeks ago.”

Yesterday (Wednesday), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said schools would not return straight after the half-term break but the government believed March 8 was the earliest possible date.

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