STAFF at special schools in Hampshire will be prioritised for Covid booster doses, the county council has said.

Members of staff working at schools catering for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) that are directly involved in delivering face-to-face services to clinically vulnerable children will be prioritised to receive a third dose, regardless of their age.

A message sent out to SEN schools in Hampshire by Brian Pope, assistant director of education and inclusion at Hampshire County Council, confirms that he raised the issue of staff vaccines with public health officials.

Staff will only be eligible for booster jabs six months after their second dose, in line with national policy.

One member of staff at an SEN school said the news was "very reassuring".

In an email dated November 3, Mr Pope wrote: "At the special school headteachers’ executive meeting yesterday, I was asked to ascertain whether staff working in close contact with children within a special school context could be prioritised to receive their booster vaccination regardless of age.

"After meeting with colleagues from health and public health today I am pleased to inform you that staff will be afforded that priority.

"All special school staff directly involved in delivering face to face services to clinically vulnerable children, are eligible.

"The term ‘clinically vulnerable’ covers a wide range of health conditions such as neurological disease, children who are immunosuppressed, those with chronic conditions of the heart, kidney or liver and genetic abnormalities, to name but a few.

"The booster must be given at least six months after your second dose. The vaccine will not be given to you before then."

A member of staff at a Hampshire SEN school said the news would "fingers crossed mean we can go into school, the children] can go into school and they can get the support they very much need from us".

It comes as the Prime Minister announced today that everyone aged 40 or over will be eligible to receive a booster dose, six months after their second dose.

He also announced that people aged 16-17 will receive their second dose 12 weeks after their first.