GPs look set to be among those targeted first if scientists succeed in their efforts to develop a viable Covid-19 vaccine.
Interim advice developed on behalf of the Government by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said frontline health and care staff should be prioritised due to their increased risk of being exposed to coronavirus and transmitting it to patients.
The document, published today, suggested another reason to prioritise NHS staff was to ensure continued running of healthcare services.
It said: ‘Frontline health and social care workers are at increased personal risk of exposure to infection with Covid-19 and of transmitting that infection to susceptible and vulnerable patients in health and social care settings.
‘The committee considered this group to be the highest priority for vaccination. Vaccination of frontline health and social care workers will also help to maintain resilience in the NHS and for health and social care providers.’
The JCVI recommended that vulnerable people at increase risk of serious illness and death should be next in line, including the elderly and people with underlying health conditions, currently advised to take more stringent measures to protect themselves from the virus.
The guidance is subject to review as more epidemiological data becomes available, the JCVI said, while also stressing that there is currently no available data on efficacy and safety of any Covid-19 vaccines in development.