Kirsty Williams rules out prioritising teachers for coronavirus vaccine in Wales

If teachers were made a priority for receiving the coronavirus vaccination in Wales then more vulnerable people would have to wait longer, a Welsh Government minister has said.

Education minister Kirsty Williams said she wanted to see teachers receive their jabs as quickly as possible but not at the expense of others.

She said the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had determined frontline NHS and social care staff, care home residents and the over 80s as the priority for the immunisation programme.

"I fully stand behind the work of the JCVI in how it has identified who is most at risk of serious harm or death as a result of contracting Covid-19," Ms Williams told the Senedd.

"Members of staff, both in school and those that support education in other roles, will receive their vaccination in line with their relative risk of harm."

Ms Williams was responding to a question from Conservative MS Suzy Davies who asked whether she should be vaccinated first because of her age, rather than people working in the education sector.

"Many of the teachers that I speak to, speak of not only their worry about themselves but actually their worry about taking the virus home to (a) potentially vulnerable member of their family," the minister replied.

"If we disrupt the vaccination programme potentially that member of family might wait a bit longer.

"Other teachers talk of their concern about children potentially taking the virus home to vulnerable members of their family and their community."

Ms Williams told the Senedd that the vaccination programme had been designed to safeguard the most vulnerable first.

"The quickest way we can vaccinate our teachers is to move through the JCVI guidance as quickly as possible," she said.

"The Welsh Government and health boards are moving every possible mountain to make that happen.

"As then we decide on who to be vaccinated next. Nothing would give me greater pleasure to find educational staff and indeed other frontline workers prioritised.

"I know that evidence will be submitted to the JCVI as they make further decisions on the further rollout of the programme.

"Clearly I am very keen to see our educational workforce vaccinated as quickly as possible."