Teachers and other key workers reportedly won’t be given priority for the Covid jab with five-year age bands to be preferred right the way down to 16-year-olds.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is set to sign off its recommendations tomorrow for the vaccine rollout once over-50s have had the jab, according to reports.
So far age and health problems have been the only determining factors, as part of efforts to target those most vulnerable to Covid.
The vast majority of over-70s have now been given the jab, with the rollout now extended to over-65s and adults with underlying health conditions.
The government is aiming to have given first doses to all over-50s by the end of April but could hit that target several weeks earlier.
There have been persistent calls for those in frontline jobs such as teaching, the police and supermarkets to be prioritised.
However, The Times reports that the JCVI is likely to stick to its policy of using age to determine priority, with five-year age brackets to be kept right the way down to 16-year-olds.
Giving priority to those from certain ethnic minorities is said to be still under consideration but is not expected to feature in the final recommendations.
No official decision has been taken on who should be prioritised for vaccines after the over-50s.
More than 15.5 million people in Britain have now had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
The rollout has moved to people aged over 65, with all over-50s to be vaccinated by the end of April.
Data suggests this target could be met weeks in advance, as early as March 24, if the current pace of vaccinations is maintained.
The Times reports that next phases of the vaccine programme will not be determined by either profession or ethnicity.
A government source told the paper: “I don’t think it’s going to happen that way. If you start going down the route of prioritising one profession over another, where does it stop?
“Every single profession is going to demand priority. It makes much more sense to say, ‘This is a clinical decision’.
“If the priority list is based on advice about saving lives it’s much harder to argue with.”
The government reportedly asked the JCVI whether people doing certain jobs should be given priority in the next phase of vaccination.
After a meeting a source close to the committee was reported to have said that age was the likely factor to be put forward and that work would not be, while ethnicity was unlikely but “still on the table”.
Vaccinating the most vulnerable is key to the government’s lockdown exit strategy for England, with the Prime Minister set to announce his “road map” on Monday, February 22.
Schools in England are expected to begin reopening from March 8, with other measures to be lifted after that.