The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced this morning (Friday 26 February) that people aged 40 to 49 would be prioritised next for a jab, in the second phase of the UK's vaccine roll out.
The JCVI considered prioritising people on the basis of occupations where workers must come into close proximity with many other people and cannot work from home.
However, even in these high-risk occupations, it was the older age groups most at risk of severe disease, Professor Wei Shen Lim from the JCVI said.
The JCVI decided the most effective way to prevent deaths and hospital admissions would be to roll out the vaccination by age group.
An age-based approach would protect the most number of people in the shortest period of time, Wei Shen Lim said.
Those in the 40 to 49 age group will be next in line, followed by those aged 30 to 39 and then 18 to 29.
The announcement comes as trade groups – including those representing teachers, police and retail workers – have been calling for priority groups based on occupations that come into contact with the public.
Ahead of the announcement, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls told The Morning Advertiser: “We support a risk-based approach, including prioritising those who can’t work from home, including most hospitality staff.
"However, we also appreciate the huge logistical challenge this presents to the NHS and believe the Government should take the fastest route to getting the adult population safely vaccinated.”
The Society of Independent Brewers' boss James Calder also tweeted his support for hospitality workers to be next in line.
Many pub and bar workers will be returning to work when venues are allowed to reopen outside in April or fully in May, Calder pointed out.
I've said it before and I will say it again. I think hospitality workers should be given priority immunisation, with others that can't work from home once groups 1-9 are done. They will be serving the public at the end of April, May, June and July without protection.— James Calder (@jmcalder101) February 24, 2021
More than half of The Morning Advertiser's Twitter followers (55.3%) said they backed giving priority to those in the sector, in a poll on the social media platform.
Do you think hospitality workers should receive prioritisation for a coronavirus vaccine, ahead of the sector reopening? #ukpubs— Morning Advertiser (@morningad) February 24, 2021
However, 35.8% of those who voted disagreed.
Prioritising hospitality workers "makes economic as well as health sense," one Twitter follower said.
Simple - who is at most risk from the government's plans to reopen?— ϻɪснᴁL ᴮᴿᴵᴺᴳᴏɴᵀᴴᴱʀᴜɢвᴇᴇʀ (@bringonthebeer) February 25, 2021
Answer: front line workers in the service industry.
Vax them all first. It makes economic as well as health sense. No good opening up a shop or pub if you then have to close it again 8 days later.