Over the weekend, news that teachers had booked vaccine appointments became public. As it stands, government guidance states that only those in clinically vulnerable groups are currently eligible to be vaccinated.

The news caused a tirade of abuse on social media claiming teachers were attempting to “jump the queue”. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

On Saturday, a link began to be shared around teaching groups inviting frontline keyworkers to come forward and be vaccinated. When questioned, the Department of Health responded that keyworker groups include teachers, supermarket workers, and even some journalists and bankers.

The online booking system allowed users to identify themselves as teachers (not in clinically vulnerable groups) and proceed to book an appointment.

A reasonable person would assume that an online booking system would prevent somebody registering who wasn’t eligible, assuming no false or incorrect information had been entered. As teachers were able to book appointments without issue, they assumed they were doing the right thing.

Society needs people to come forward and be vaccinated as the path out of lockdown requires as many people to be vaccinated as possible.

As of Monday, appointments made by teachers have been cancelled. Nevertheless, a degree of animosity within the public remains, leaving some teachers distressed.

Lib Dem vice chair Alex Lister said: “Teachers should not feel guilty about booking appointments. Everyone was just trying to do the right thing.

“Messaging around the coronavirus from the authorities hasn’t always been clear, and people have frequently been required to make moral judgements based on inconsistent and incomplete information.

“Every single one of us at some point has had to ask whether what we are doing is within the rules or not.

“Along with our magnificent NHS, our tireless supermarket staff, and all our other keyworkers, teachers are doing an amazing job under very difficult circumstances.

“Anyone currently doing home-schooling will undoubtedly have a new-found respect for the work teachers do every day!

“I’m sorry that many of your appointments have been cancelled. I hope teachers are vaccinated soon, and I encourage everyone to come forward and get vaccinated at the first opportunity.”

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Posted by Alex Lister

Alex grew up in Canterbury. He is lead governor of the East Kent Hospitals Trust, vice chair of the local Liberal Democrat Party and vice chair of CHEK - the campaign group for a new hospital in Canterbury

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