Lewisham mum’s petition to get nursery staff vaccinated gains 700 signatures
We have already signed that petition a couple of weeks ago. Our daughter is a Nursery Manager & she caught COVID recently & passed it onto her boyfriend who is clinically vulnerable. Both are now ok, although he spent 2 days in hospital on oxygen.
But the woman who got it first passed it onto her parents & her dad at 75 & with diabetes (hadn’t been called for his vaccine) is now in a coma & they don’t think he will recover.
Very sad but according to ONS statistics school and nursery staff are at no higher a risk than the average. Plant workers are much, much more likely to catch Covid, so clearly queues shouldn’t be jumped by low risk groups. .
I suspect this is, and will be an emotive issue for many.
There will be many groups more or less at risk than others, by different percentages.
One thing to consider will be the complexity operationally of sorting \ veryfying those groups and scheduling them in for vaccinations. I suspect this will be highly complext and resouce heavy in some instances, so I suspect for speed of rollout the approach may be to vaccinate easily identifiable ‘known’ groups that are public facing, and everyone else is just done in age order as now.
I am sure it’s highly complex and there is no right or wrong answer, but the path must be one that vaccinates the most people in the fastest time as that will likely give us all the best outcomes, in my opinion. If that can be done by easily prioritising more at risk groups all the better.
Yes I know, she has said that herself.
Parents are not allowed into the building, & she travels to work by car.
She works in the office, but does have to do observations sometimes in the rooms. The staff in the rooms do not wear masks (although they are in bubbles) but the member of staff who first got it, gave it to the room leader & my daughter, so it soon spreads.
Is this correct? I have read they are at no higher risk than other frontline workers, and seen it regurgitated as no higher risk than any other person elsewhere too.
Edit: having had a quick read it seems to be that we are statistically unable to say they are at any greater than other key workers or those who work outside the home once a week.
For every person in a low risk group that queue jumps, someone loses out. So for example a 30 year old teacher is prioritised over a 57 year old metal worker in an industrial plant? Both are keyworkers. The 57 year old in one of the highest risk occupations; the teacher at no more risk than the average 30 year old. That can’t be just.
Should we take account of the ‘social benefit’ provided by different jobs too though? It seems like that would be the way to make society better off.
There was an article on the BBC last week https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55795608, which said:
Teachers were not at significantly higher risk of death from Covid-19 than the general population, Office for National Statistics figures suggest.
Restaurant staff, people working in factories and care workers had among the highest death rates, followed by taxi drivers and security guards.
Nurses were more than twice as likely as their peers to die of coronavirus.
Secondary school teachers may have been at slightly, but not measurably, higher risk than the average.
Among teachers, there were 18 deaths per 100,000 among men and 10 per 100,000 among women.
Breaking that down by role, secondary school teachers appear to have a very slightly elevated risk at 39 deaths per 100,000 people in men and 21 per 100,000 in women.
Per 100,000 men aged 20-64, 31 died in the population as a whole compared with:
- 119 restaurant and catering staff per 100,000
- 110 care workers
- 106 metal-working machine operatives
- 101 taxi drivers
- 100 security guards
- 79 nurses
Of course there are many other factors to also consider, and there are no easy answers. I would not want to be the one deciding who gets the vaccine first.
The ONS excluded from its analysis any occupation that had seen fewer than 10 deaths, and the average death rate for the whole population masks this variation.
The study also covers periods where there were limited numbers of children attending school
So a 57 year old care worker should not be in front of a 57 year old restaurant manager in the queue?
No of course not. They’re in the same Tier 8 anyway. We don’t do social engineering - one person more worthy of saving than another. Or we shouldn’t.
That’s what this petition is, isn’t it?
Age is still by far and away the biggest risk factor. At the moment the vaccine programme is about getting the horrific death and hospitalisation rate down. Vaccinating by age is simple, easy to administer and the right thing to do.
The petition is about a chosen group queue jumping. So you nursery school teachers and child minders will jump the queue over older higher risk groups. It’s not justifiable either in morals or statistics.
I haven’t read the whole petition and I do not work in the education / nursery sector, but wonder if the fact that children, in particular those of nursery age can’t socially distance is of importance in this debate. As a nursery worker, you will regularly pick up/ wipe faces of/ comfort a baby who does not understand rules of hygiene in a pandemic.
For teachers, I imagine at both primary and secondary hygiene is still an issue with kids. I imagine when teachers are physically at school teaching, they are not wearing a mask in classrooms so kids can see what the teacher is saying. And the teacher is exposing themselves to 30 x bubbles x however many classes they interact with. And again, kids probably don’t quite get the social distance and hygiene thing.
So I don’t think this is about cherry picking people but sensibly selecting groups who are most likely to be exposed to lots of people once the critical groups are vaccinated. Also makes you wonder if supermarket staff should be next too.
The scientific group advising the govt commented on where best to give the vaccination, with the priority being to save as many lives directly through vaccination as possible. They gave these figures as example.
‘We worked out that if you give 20 people in a care home a dose of vaccine, you’ll save a life,” he said. “If you give 160 people in their 80s a dose of vaccine, you’ll save a life. But once you get down to people in their 60s, you’re up to more than 1,000. If you go down to teachers or policemen, you’re approaching one in 50,000. It’s an extraordinarily inefficient way in the crisis to use vaccines – to start going out to these other lobbying groups who are perceiving themselves to be at enhanced risk of exposure, but who are not actually and demonstrably at enhanced risk of getting sick and dying’.
I suppose it raises a lot of questions as a society… if you just look at it from a death statistic then yes it makes sense to go top down by age and vulnerability. If you look at it from the point of view of keyworkers then it comes down to OK they might not die but they still need to quarantine if they get sick - that pulls teachers out of classrooms and police off the street. There’s no right answer except to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.
I’ve witnessed this first hand at one of the local clinics when they had left over Pfizer doses at 5.45pm - is it feasible to ring round (often land lines) of an ageing population group and try to get them on site in 15 mins with no notice, or is it better to get the local Fire Brigade WhatsApp group alerted and have them run down the road asap to use up the last doses? It’s simply being efficient and effective.
The example you give here of avoiding vaccine waste, while pragmatic, sensible and surely supported by most, isn’t what this petition is about.
That’s right, the top half of my comment was related to the petition theme regarding the impact on society. The second part was just an add on anecdote. I can remove it if you feel it’s not relevant.
My husband has stayed at home for the last few weeks & up tom3 weeks after I was going to have my vaccine as I am clinically extremely vulnerable. He works on construction sites with lots of men, so just didn’t feel safe.
I had my jab last Friday, so he has 2 weeks to go. It was his choice to stay home to protect me, he could have still gone to work, so I wonder if anybody living with someone like me should be vaccinated as well at the same time?
My daughters partner is clinically extremely vulnerable as well, & she was riddled with guilt about giving him COVID. But the problem is where does it stop? She couldn’t afford to stay home, my husband can so is ok for us, but there aren’t many people who can is there.
If we can agree that the restrictions which have been put in place (and removed) over the last year have been a balancing act between allowing freedom / economic activity on one hand and preventing health service pressure and deaths on the other then isn’t the allocation of vaccines based purely on ‘lives saved’ at divergence from this?
Maybe it’s pragmatically the optimal choice anyway, but has there been a shift in motivations?
7 posts were split to a new topic: Posts moved from Lewisham mum’s petition topic
I think age is still the best proxy if we want to get this done as quickly as possible.
Age is easily discovered and verified. To roll out via occupation (outside of NHS and carers) will be more complex. You would have to work with employers to verify eligibility. Also would it be done by job status or function?
I am classed as a key worker but like 85% of my colleagues can work from home. I would not expect to get vaccinated any earlier than the rest of my age cohort but I can imagine some not being so scrupulous.
Are we getting a little off-topic here…
The difference is that the metal worker can use protective measures, e.g. socially distance, put a mask on etc. The nursery staff can’t. They’ve got zero protection. And they might take the desease home to their family some of which will fall into the vulnerable group.
It’s not just about the individual being at risk but about reducing the spread. I can’t think of a group of have closer interaction with others at work than nursery staff. Cases in young children are grossly underrated because they rarely show symptoms so won’t isolate but can pass on the desease.
How old is the data? Does it consider teachers and nursery staff separately? Does it consider the impact of the new variant which apparently is more transmissible among young children? And does it consider any data since routine testing for staff has been introduced?
Taxi drivers, bin collectors etc. are said to be prioritised soon. Why not nursery staff?
As the article states, thile comparison is about teachers. Isn’t the petiton about nursery staff though? There is a big difference between both in terms of their interaction with children.
Do you have a source for that? I found articles about a trade association calling for taxi drivers to be moved up the priority list, but that is a long way from an actual change in prioritisation.
It’s mentioned as an option at the end of the article. So admittedly it’s not confirmed.
The question is what “prioritising” actually means. To me it doesn’t translate to queue jumping, but being treated as another group that’s recognised to being prioritised over the general public (i.e. everyone not covered by a priority group).
I think it is legitimate that there are discussions about other groups worth considering for a prioritised vaccine offer in addition to (not instead of) the ones initially identified.
Where does it say that? Who specifically are they supposed to jump in front of? At the moment they are in the same group as a fit young single adult working from home. I think the point of the petition is to account for the different level of risk they’re exposed to, not just individually but as a vector. The same goes for the kids actually but unfortunately there isn’t an approved vaccine yet.
On that note, there was at least one major outbreak at a nursery in Forest Hill during the recent wave. Unless it was purely coincidental, the trends in the local level statistic that followed seemed to suggest that this was a significant driver of increase in case numbers in the area. And that’s just what can be derived from the total numbers.
That’s fair, I was responding to a post which was discussing both nursery staff, teachers and other front line workers. I’ve moderated in this topic so won’t participate any further now other than to explain this.
You clearly have no idea how metal workers work. They have to work in tight groups where there can be no social distancing. A pipefitter for instance holds the pieces in place while a welder welds them. There can be no social distancing. And don’t you realize that metal workers have families too? So that’s a meaningless statement.
I realise that this is an emotive subject, can we please consider that we all have a different perspective on the subject and respect this.
Vaccinations are quite rightly being done by age. A 60 year old is at more risk than a 20 year old. That has been proven. To vaccinate a 20 year old nursery worker ahead of a 60 year old or a 55 year old just because the 20 year old happens to work in a nursery is illogical. If low risk groups are prioritised over 50+ year olds then what can it be other than queue jumping? Rhetorical question. Would you sacrifice your 50+ year old relative or expect them to give up their vaccine for a healthy 20 year old child minder? I wouldn’t.
It will be interesting to see if studies continue to show vaccines also cut transmission, because if they do then vaccinating a 20 y/o who comes in to contact with 100 different people a day for key work purposes could well be more logical than vaccinating a 50 y/o person who comes in to contact with one or two people a day. Vaccinating the former could end up saving more lives than the latter, even if the person being vaccinated themself isn’t high risk.
I’d thought that the biggest jump in mortality rates came from 60+ rather than 50+ so was surprised to hear the over-50s were next group up.
I’d probably prefer to see those under 60 whose work puts them in higher risk groups - or, as you say, in contact with lots of others - done before the 50+ gang. I am under-50 and can WFH so no horse in the race here. But my pals over 50 are now booking holidays for the late summer/early autumn.
Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but the JVCI looked at the data and choose a cut-off point of 50 and over (as well as the clinically extremely vulnerable) for the first phase of vaccination as the way to prevent the most deaths.
If this example were a 20 year old nursery worker vs a 49 year old staying at home, then that is a question for phase 2 of the vaccination programme which very much considers your question. The JVCI also note that phase 1 should give data on the effect vaccination has on transmission, though they consider the issue of priory occupations a matter of policy. From Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination, 30 December 2020 - GOV.UK :
The JVCI report is actually surprisingly easy to read and gives reasons for the advised approach we are following:
A 50 year old is still at a lot higher risk than a 20 year old.
After stopping death and serious illness the design of the initial vaccine rollout has been chosen for speed, age is easy to identify and verify. Occupation (outside of care and frontline medical work) is harder to verify and is open to significant abuse and challenge. All of which will slow things down.
I agree, ‘means testing’ for priotiy could get really complex and ultimately hinder progress, even if transmissibility means there might be greater epidemiological value in targeting certain sub groups in theory.
Another thing that needs to be factored in are those who are self-employed or on low wages who can’t work from home. I read an article this morning (couldn’t find it to post here) that was about how an office cleaner caught Covid but couldn’t afford to self-isolate and so kept going into work and knowingly spread it onto many others. This just spreads the virus even further and keeps cases up.
In construction and factories you have hundreds of people working together and often closely together too. The spread of the virus could escalate in an environment like this; there are far less people in a nursery. Low-paid workers like the cleaner in the article can’t afford to isolate so go into work and spread it further. There are lots of factors to consider on which workers are more at risk. Risk of death versus risk of increasing cases is a rather broad debate too.
Focusing on age groups and health vulnerability is the best in my opinion.
I agree with you. My point was that no one is suggesting for anyone else to move back in the queue, but rather for the group in question to secure a place in the queue.
On the flip side of the whole argument, there is a question how far you go with defining priorities. The programme is happening at such rapid pace that perhaps there is a risk of too much complexity possibly slowing everything down?
My hunch that there will be one more round of prioritisation which will be managed through employers. This could for instance use the database of key workers which should already exist and cover nursery staff alongside all others.
Some of this already seems to happen beyond NHS and care homes - I know of a charity admin staff who has had their vaccine.
It will be interesting to see what impact a lower efficacy of the vaccine against newer variants is going to have.
Thanks for sharing. I find that last sentence intriguing - or at least the fact that they see the need to point this out. Or is it just to stop people to try and lobby them? I would very much hope that JCVI are at least being consulted.
On the topic of “key workers” some of those who I mentioned in my previous post aren’t classed as key workers, so won’t get prioritised for a vaccine but, I would suggest, are at high risk of spreading/catching the virus due to the reasons I noted.
Where is this “database of key workers” keyworkers are across all sectors and employers - civil servants, medical staff, supermarket workers, transport workers, utilities staff, HGV drivers delivering food, prison staff etc… etc…
My employer holds one. All staff who were given the status of key workers have received a written letter of proof by the company. I assume they wouldn’t have done this without at least consulting the authorities (I think it was more likely for the company to have been consulted and advised). It would be relatively easy for this employer to confirm who is on that list if government didn’t hold it themselves. Is this not standard practice?
As someone else has pointed out this would not cover every single case but it’s likely good enough to achieve the desirable effect.
Some companies may do so, but it’s not standard practice. Nor is that what this petition about.
By definition, if nursery workers are pushed further up the queue they must be leapfrogging others. You really can’t fit a quart into a pint pot without some displacement.
They could just be “leapfrogging” those who are yet to become part of any priority group, but not necessarily those who have already been confirmed to be part of one.
If you feel strongly that metal workers should get the same treatment, maybe you could start a petition?
Metal workers have been used as an example. If an alternative petition were needed it might be 'petition to ignore petitions from special interest groups '.
But that is just who your employer defines as key workers, not the government.
As I said above I am a key worker but can work from home and have no interaction with the public. Being a key worker does not necessarily mean you are at increased risk of getting covid
If media reports are to be believed the first nine cohorts will have received their first dose of the vaccine by May… even as early as May 6th according to some news outlets.
That would leave the remainder of the population or those under 50. I’ve not seen any plan yet for how those vaccinations will be rolled out but it seems unlikely there would not be further cohorts identified and adhered to.
I cannot find the news article I read, but I had read that this is when other ‘key’ professions with a higher level of interpersonal contact would be addressed. With a suggest that this would happen in the work place such as schools. I suppose eligibility would be defined by being onsite in the workplace more at risk. I’m sure this suggested retail such as grocery as well.
I think that is definitely a possibility. Apart from if they have certain underlying conditions people’s risk of serious illness and death drops drastically below the age of 50 so the need to get everyone vaccinated in strict age order might not be so pressing.
Perhaps it is also possible that this nursery is calling for staff to be vaccinated as the sector is severely struggling and they see vaccination as a measure to help the business survive, as well as helping protecting staff, children and parents:
Given how over-subscribed nurseries seem to be, it would be an utter disaster for parents if so many closed.
However, lots of other sectors are similarly struggling or doing even worse, so I’m not sure this alone is a reason to prioritise vaccination for this group.
New research published a couple of days ago does suggest that at least the Pfizer vaccine will cut the risk of Covid transmission four-fold in one shot, (see Pfizer vaccine cuts Covid-19 transmission risk four-fold, even before second dose: study - CityAM : CityAM), so vaccinating groups that have the most interactions with other people would seem like a sensible strategy for phase 2 i.e. once all the over 50’s and clinically vulnerable have been vaccinated under JCVI’s phase 1.
Interestingly enough, the JVCI have published their guidance for phase 2 of the vaccination program, having been asked by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to give their advice on the optimal strategy:
The nursery’s petition seems to have made about 1,000 signatures.