Commenting on the decision of the JCVI to recommend the Covid vaccine for clinically vulnerable children aged 5-11 years old or a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

"This is good news for clinically vulnerable primary children and will offer some reassurance to their parents. However, it won't impact on transmission rates in schools or make a significant difference to the turbulence that schools and colleges are experiencing due to Covid. This makes the case stronger for Government to introduce better mitigations. 

"We must equip parents, children, leaders, teachers and support staff with everything they need to protect education in their school or college community as Omicron sweeps through the country and threatens public services. There is much more Government can do, and calling for retired teachers to return to the workplace simply won't be enough. In the short term, Nadhim Zahawi can increase measures on ventilation, air filtration, mask wearing and isolation of very close contacts. These are completely reasonable and practical asks which mirror what is already happening in Scotland and Wales. To refuse to do so simply prolongs and deepens the disruption to education in England."