Officials are considering who should be a priority in the next phase of the vaccine rollout.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi says they are looking into jobs that come into close contact with the public and considering if they should be given priority access.
This means the likes of teachers, police officers and shop workers could be in the next phase of the vaccine rollout.
The decision will be made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), and Matt Hancock has called for a national debate on prioritisation.
Mr Zahawi told Times Radio: “Teachers, police officers, shop workers, those who through no fault of their own, other than the work that they do, may come into contact with the virus at much greater volume [should be] the top of the list.”
Outlining how a decision on priority should be made, Matt Hancock said at the Downing Street press conference on Monday: “The clinical advice is to go through the top groups… and then after that it is essentially about protecting people as well as possible according to a judgment about who should come next.
“That is why we should have a debate about that.
“Ninety-nine per cent of deaths occur in the top nine groups and after that it is about protecting against transmission and getting life back to normal as soon as possible.”
Currently, the order of priority for phase one is:
- Care home residents and their carers
- Those 80 and over, and frontline health and social care workers
- Those 75 and over
- Those 70 and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable people
- Those 65 and over
- People between 16-65 with underlying health conditions which put them at risk of more serious illness from COVID-19
- Those 60 and over
- Those 55 and over
- Those 50 and over
A petition calling for teachers, school and childcare staff to be prioritised has now gained 470,000 signatures with some arguing it could help with schools reopening.
The chairman of the Police Federation John Apter has called for police officers to be given the vaccine as soon as possible.
Dorset Police have also backed the calls after two officers tested positive for Covid-19 at an anti-lockdown rally in Bournemouth.
One of the officers said: “Police officers shouldn’t be the first in line for the vaccine and we know the risks of our job, but we see vast amounts of people every day.
“If a call comes in, we have to go to it; we can’t say we won’t go to it. And we are putting ourselves, and our families at risk, every single day.”
Around 20 people involved in mass brawl ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens
The violence spilled out into the street
A large group of people were involved in a mass fight ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens last night.
Around 20 people were caught up in the large brawl on Monday evening, and according to reports some were armed with knives.
The fight took place outside Morrisons on the end of Oldham Street, and happened around 9:30pm.
Witnesses reported seeing some of the suspects carrying knives, although police didn’t recover any from the scene, and busses were forced to stop as the violence spread out onto the road.
Someone who witnessed the fight said on Twitter: “Piccadilly gardens is the roughest place on earth… a lovely night out helping ruined by a group of young kids kicking each others faces in”.
Officers responded to the incident, but no arrests were made or serious injuries reported.
This incident was the third of serious violence in just a few days.
Saturday afternoon saw another incident outside Morrisons in Piccadilly Gardens, in which a man was slashed in the face.
And on Sunday a brawl involving two tables at Barca bar in Castlefield happened, with some involved arming themselves with weapons like bar furniture and a baseball bat.
Leading scientists call for end of face masks and social distancing by June
Do you agree?
Leading scientists have written to the UK government calling for social distancing and face masks to be scrapped from June.
In total 22 scientists have signed the communication, saying that these measures should finish on June 22nd – the same date limits on social contact are set to be scrapped in England.
One of the scientists who has added their name to the letter is Dr Roland Salmon, the former director of the communicable disease centre in Wales.
Dr Salmon told BBC Radio Wales: “I am not venting my frustration but I do think some dialogue is well overdue.
“I have always felt that there has been little credible evidence benefit for many of the measures that we take.”
According to him, the letter was written to encourage the government to focus on protecting vulnerable people rather than the masses as we move forward.
Dr Salmon said we need to deal with the ‘here and now’ when asked about the threat of variants, going on to add that the vaccine has shown it helps prevent severe disease and death.
He added: “We can’t stop living forever while we wait for things to happen”.
Scientists who’ve signed the letter include Prof Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG).
There’s also Prof Anthony Brookes, a geneticist and health data scientist at the University of Leicester, and Prof Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University.
The letter reads: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.
“We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”
It continues: “Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit.
“Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”
Boris Johnson is regarded as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters
It follows weeks of allegations against the PM
According to a new poll Boris Johnson is seen as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters in Britain, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer seen as more trustworthy.
The poll from Ipsos MORI was shared by the Evening Standard, and comes after weeks of leaks and allegations about sleaze aimed at the prime minister.
The research found that Mr Johnson is trusted by just 35% of voters and deemed untrustworthy by 59%, while Sir Keir is seen as trustworthy by 42% and is untrusted by 41%.
Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “On honesty Boris Johnson is clearly trumped by Keir Starmer, so this is an area of potential risk for him.
“However, his own supporters still trust him, and the public overall have never seen it as one of his strongest attributes … and as previous leaders such as Tony Blair have shown, you don’t have to be ahead on trust to win elections.
“The key question is whether and if these stories continue and start to change the public’s overall view on him as PM.”
The poll was taken following weeks of reports about murky donations being used to refurbish the prime minister’s flat, as well as disclosures about covert lobbying.
However, it was undertaken before the most recent allegations that Mr Johnson said he’d rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than have another lockdown, so those reports won’t have been taken into consideration by those polled.
Despite all the recent controversy, the prime minister and government’s net satisfaction hasn’t changed much since March, with both Mr Johnson (44 satisfied/50 dissatisfied) and Sir Keir (36/46) having net negative ratings.
Ipsos MORI interviewed 1090 adults across the UK by telephone from April 16th to the 22nd – you can find full details here.