In a public address given yesterday, Mr Fell explained that the decision to prioritise certain occupations over others was one made by a national committee called the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
He said that the JCVI had picked the groups in an effort to minimise mortality rates, and consequently only professions most likely to come into contact with elderly and medically vulnerable patients were being vaccinated at the moment.
Mr Fell said: “There is one occupation group that is prioritised by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation and that is frontline NHS workers and frontline social care staff and there’s a reason for that.
“The aim of the vaccination programme is to reduce mortality. Those who work in health and social care are more likely to come across medically vulnerable individuals. Therefore, by vaccinating them you reduce, but don’t eliminate, the risk of transmission. Their client group are most at risk of dying.
“People are really keen to be vaccinated but key workers, such as police or teachers, are not covered in the JCVI agreement on account of their occupation.
Simply put, we are prioritising the limited supply of the vaccine so that we can save the most lives.”
He added that, in theory, once vaccinated the top nine priority groups almost all deaths will be preventable. This will reduce pressure on the NHS as fewer people will be hospitalised with Covid.