A RETAIL trade union has expressed its "deep disappointment" that shop workers are not being prioritised in the second phase of the coronavirus vaccine rollout.

Union Usdaw has consistently campaigned for shopworkers to be prioritised for vaccination.

But on Friday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation rejected prioritisation by occupation, instead sticking to the approach of vaccinating in order of age and clinical vulnerability.

Last month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released evidence on Covid-19 death rates by occupation, which showed that many key workers are at a higher risk.

Usdaw general secretary, Paddy Lillis, said: “Our members in the food supply industry, including those in processing plants, distribution, essential retail and grocery delivery are deeply disappointed by the news that they will not be prioritised for vaccination.

“The Office for National Statistics last month demonstrated that many key workers, who are providing essential services during the pandemic, have an elevated Covid-19 related death rate.

"It is clear that close proximity to the public and other workers, as well as an indoor working environment are key factors in the spread of coronavirus infection.

“Usdaw has consistently campaigned for vulnerable occupations to be prioritised in the second phase of the vaccine rollout, reflecting the risks they face.

"They have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country supplied with essentials and deserved to be prioritised.

"So the announcement is deeply disappointing and we strongly urge the government to reconsider the decision.”