Sunderland Echo

Age group 40-49 next in line for vaccinatio­n

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People aged 40-49 are next in line for a Covid-19 vaccine after Government advisers concluded that vaccinatin­g in order of age remained the quickest way to cut deaths.

The Joint Committee on Vaccinatio­n and Immunisati­on (JCVI) considered whether groups such as teachers and police officers should be vaccinated next, but concluded speed is of the upmost importance, while age remains a major factor in serious illness.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair for the JCVI, said age “remains a dominant factor–it is still one of the most important causes of severe disease, even in those aged 50 years and below”.

He said that even within different occupation­s, it was older people who are more at risk than those who are younger.

The new guidance means that in phase two of the vaccine roll out, priority will be given in the following order:

– All those aged 40-49

– All those aged 30-39

– All those aged 18-29 These groups will be vaccinated once all those in phase one (the over-50s and most vulnerable) have been offered a jab, with the Government’s target for a first dose in phase one being mid-April.

Prof Li ms aid one of the difficulti­es was jobs were not very well recorded in GP records.

“Trying to workout theoccupat­ional risk and exposure and severe disease has been difficult enough, and I think structurin­g an entire mass vaccinatio­n programme around occupation would be even more difficult,” he said.

“We know that an age-based programme is simple and works very well and it seems sensible to continue with that, keeping an eye on speed because speed of deployment is the important factor.”

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