HEREFORDSHIRE Council is calling on the Government to prioritise giving the coronavirus vaccine to teachers and other school staff in the county.

At the moment, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has not named teachers as a priority, unless they are in one of the priority groups due to age or medical vulnerability.

But the council’s cabinet has demanded the Government makes plans to vaccinate teachers soon as it has “growing concerns around staff safety and continuity of education”.

Herefordshire Council wants the UK Government to recognise education staff as frontline workers in need of urgent protection from coronavirus”.

Coun Felicity Norman, cabinet member for children and families, said she recognises the valuable contribution of education workers, and said their safety is a priority.

She added: "We hope to see all teachers and non-teaching staff included in the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the near future.

"Herefordshire is in a good position to deliver vaccinations initially to those that need it the most.

"Schools have implemented Covid-secure measures and worked hard to prevent transmission in school settings.

"We feel very strongly that school, college and nursery staff should be vaccinated as soon as possible and we will continue to campaign for this to happen.”

Council leader coun David Hitchiner has written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to ask school, college and nursery staff are prioritised for the vaccine in Herefordshire.

Alex Davies, executive headteacher of Burghill Community Academy and Stretton Sugwas CE Academy, said: “We recognise that school staff are worried for their own safety and that of their families.

"A vaccination for teachers would support children returning to school, once transmission rates allow and give greater confidence and reassurance to teaching staff, to parents and carers and children.

“Learning at home can’t be compared to learning in a classroom and school life is more than just education. We are concerned about pupils’ mental health and happiness while working from home and isolated from their friends and school community.

“The Government should be doing everything in their power to protect teaching and education staff, and provide a safe environment for ongoing learning.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ministers will consider if key workers such as police, teachers and essential shop staff should be prioritised once the most vulnerable have been given the jab.