The Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) has welcomed the announcement that frontline shopworkers could be some of the first people to be vaccinated in the next stage of the coronavirus vaccination programme.

Health secretary Matt Hancock praised workers in the retail industry for their service during the pandemic.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “I want to thank shop workers in essential shops who have to be there for all of us, even in these difficult times when the virus is widely spread.

“We will be looking very carefully at those professions that will need to be prioritised in phase two of the prioritisation programme. We will look at teachers, police and others, but we will also look at shopworkers and will make those decisions based on the data.”

NFRN National President Stuart Reddish said: “Thousands of independent retailers and their staff have been at the frontline throughout the pandemic. While safety measures have been put in place to protect staff and their customers, our members still put themselves at risk day in and day out to keep the population supplied with food and other essential goods.

“I welcome the comments from Mr Hancock and hope that the government acts upon his words.”

A new petition asking for frontline retail staff to be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine has been launched. To sign the petition, go to https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/567426

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