Boris Johnson is due to confirm the start of a booster program for the over-50s on Tuesday after government scientists finally approved vaccinations for older schoolchildren.
Predicting a widespread acceleration of the vaccination program ahead of what ministers admit to be a difficult second winter to deal with the virus, the prime minister will also signal his opposition to any further lockdowns this year.
At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister will stress the need to keep certain measures in reserve, which could include a return to compulsory mask wearing in some contexts, telling people to work from home as far as possible. of the possible and the reintroduction of social distancing across England.
But he will put the vaccination program at the heart of his approach to try to keep hospitalizations and Covid deaths at manageable levels during the colder months, when people are more likely to congregate indoors and out. Christmas is approaching.
However, the plan to offer injections to children aged 12 to 15, approved on Monday by the four chief medical officers of the United Kingdom, immediately aroused concern from teachers’ unions who warned that schools were placed. in an “unpleasant” position.
They called on ministers to confirm that the program will be supervised by specialists so that teachers do not get caught up in consent issues or face the wrath of anti-vaccination groups.
An NHS trust has told schools it expects the first injections to be completed within six weeks.
Paul Whiteman, Secretary General of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “It is essential that the government immediately confirm that the process surrounding vaccinations will be fully managed and overseen by the appropriate medical teams. “
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has now reportedly approved the administration of boosters to all people over 50 and clinically vulnerable people, given fears of diminished immunity.
The rollout is expected to take the same form as the first phase of Covid vaccine distribution that began in December 2020, with older ones taking priority before jabs are offered to younger age groups.