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England’s Deputy Chief Medical Office Jonathan Van-Tam announced a provisional priority list of groups of people to receive the vaccine. But Channel 4’s Victoria MacDonald asked: “You read out the list on the priorites, Professor Van-Tam; you said they were preliminary but given the Prime Minister’s determination to keep schools and universities open, is it not a glaring missing on that list. Shouldn’t there be teachers on that list?”
Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “We will be guided very much by the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation.
“I think you’ve got to look at where the doses can be most appropriately distributed to protect people, save lives and to drive down the R.
“Everything flows from that and that’s why I thought what Jonathan had to say was absolutely right.”
The question drew anger on Twitter.
One viewer of the briefing wrote: “Trust Channel 4 to make the moronic request for teachers to be prioritised, potentially over the elderly, for a vaccine.”
Another wrote: “I see it’s “dumb question time” at the #Pressconference – one wants teachers to get the vaccine ahead of high-risk elderly people, and this guy Jason asks about Biden/Trump in a Coronavirus Update briefing!”
However, some Twitter users backed the roll-out statement from Channel 4.
One wrote: “Good question from the press there! Should teachers be amongst the first to be offered the vaccine.”
Another wrote: “Notable that Boris avoided answering whether teachers should be a priority for vaccine. How the hell does he think he is keeping the economy going?”
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Life will go back to a “new normal”, but “we’re not there yet”, according to David Nabarro, co-director of Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation.
He said: “Even if a vaccine arrives in the near future we’ve got many months of still dealing with the virus as a constant threat that we’ve got to make certain that we continue to do all that is necessary to solve the virus causing major problems.”
However, Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and a member of the Government’s vaccine taskforce, indicated people could look forward to a normal life in the coming months.
Asked if life will return to normal by spring 2021, he told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One: “Yes, yes, yes, yes. I am probably the first guy to say that but I will say that with some confidence.”
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