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Is the rollout of the UK’s record-breaking vaccine sluggish?


Is the rollout of the UK’s record-breaking childhood vaccine sluggish? Figures show Scotland stabbed three times as many 12-15 year olds as England

  • Covid campaign progresses much faster in Scotland with third vaccinated
  • The inequality comes despite the green light to vaccinate all those aged 12 to 15
  • Expert warned England’s slow pace put schoolchildren’s health at risk

Covid vaccination of high school students is progressing at a snail’s pace in England – with only one in nine (11.5 per cent) 12- to 15-year-olds currently being stung.

The campaign is progressing much faster in Scotland, where a third (33.4 percent) of that age group have had their vaccinations.

The disparity comes despite the green light being given to vaccinate all 12 to 15-year-olds on both sides of the border on the same day, September 20.

Last night, a vaccine expert warned that the slow pace in England was endangering the health of schoolchildren and elderly relatives.

In England, in the first week of the campaign, from September 20 to 26, only 3,725 12- to 15-year-olds were vaccinated per day on average

Low vaccination coverage in teens would “amplify the outbreak,” said immunologist Professor Peter Openshaw, “inevitably spread it to every other part of the population that has not been vaccinated.”

In August, a pilot study from the University of Exeter calculated that vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds by Christmas could prevent tens of thousands of Covid admissions, mostly of older people, and save up to 6,500 lives.

But the fewer children who pricked, the smaller the benefit.

In England, in the first week of the campaign, from September 20 to 26, an average of just 3,725 12- to 15-year-olds were vaccinated per day.

In Scotland, the daily number was 2,260 – despite the population in this group being 12 times smaller.

An important difference was the location: England has focused on vaccination in schools, Scotland on local ‘drop-in’ clinics.

The English-language program also faces organizational problems. A family in south London received a text from their GP on 20 September inviting their 13-year-old son to get his shot immediately – then the invitation was withdrawn without explanation.

His mother said: ‘My son has not been vaccinated for weeks, while the Covid rates in schools are high and rising.’

A Scottish government spokesman said walk-in clinics had made teen vaccination ‘quick and easy’.

Prof Openshaw said: ‘We need to look at all possible measures to improve the vaccination coverage of teenagers in England, including walk-in clinics.’

While the Covid infection in teens was “generally mild,” Prof. Openshaw said hospitals reported “a fairly large number of very seriously ill children were admitted.”

He added: “If given the choice between getting immune through a vaccine or a natural infection, vaccination is by far the safer way.”

Last night, Unison and the National Education Union pushed for a return of Covid ‘bubbles’ – in which groups of students are sent home if they test positive – and the mandatory wearing of masks in schools.

NHS England said: ‘In just two weeks, hundreds of schools have already held vaccination clinics, protecting over 160,000 children.’

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old girl in a wheelchair and her mother were targeted by anti-vax protesters outside a vaccination center in Cardiff’s Bayside yesterday.

Her mother said the protesters accused her of using her daughter as a “laboratory rat.”



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