- Ministers urge parents to vaccinate their children, with only a 9% increase
- ONS. According to the report, on October 2, one out of 12 students was infected.
- Health and education secretaries say vaccines are ‘best defense’ against virus
Ministers have urged parents to vaccinate their children against COVID, amid concerns about the rollout of JABS in secondary schools.
The plea was made after one in 12 students aged 11 to 16 in England was infected on 2 October, according to estimates by the Office for National Statistics.
In a joint letter to parents of secondary school and college students, Nadim Zahavi and Sajid Javid said that ‘vaccines are our best defense’ against the virus.
The education secretary and health secretary said young people should get vaccinated and get themselves tested regularly to reduce the spread of the virus and avoid missing school or college.
Meanwhile, a school leaders’ union said head teachers are “increasingly disappointed” about delays in immunization programs for 12 to 15-year-olds in schools at a time of rising student absenteeism.
According to official figures, more than 200,000 students – one in 40 – were out of school for reasons linked to the coronavirus at the end of last month.
According to the UK Health Protection Agency, only 10 percent of students aged 12-15 had secured their first job by 3 October.
Three million students across the age group are eligible to receive a single vaccine as part of a rollout that began three weeks ago.
The move to give jabs to children was highly controversial because of their small risk of falling seriously ill with the virus. Health officials stressed that the move was necessary to keep students from missing out on school this winter.
In a joint letter to parents of secondary school and college students, Education Secretary Nadim Jahvi (left) and Health Secretary Sajid Javid (right) said ‘vaccines are our best defense’ against the virus.
High school student Molly Rowe gets a jab at Fernhill Community Center in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire
The UK Health Protection Agency graph shows vaccine intake by age group. Despite the rollout starting three weeks ago, only nine percent of 12- to 15-year-olds have used it.
In the letter on Monday, Mr Jahvi and Mr Javid asked for the ‘support’ of parents in encouraging their children to test themselves for Covid twice a week and to continue with the face-to-face lessons. Said to ‘come forward’ for the jab.
The ministers wrote that vaccines help protect young people, benefit those around them and reduce transmission.
The letter to parents said: ‘We know some of you will be concerned about the health risks of the young people you care for.
‘We want to assure you that the evidence suggests that young people are at very low risk of serious illness from COVID. However, we have to continue to reduce the spread of COVID.
‘Young people who get sick will have to drop out of school or college, and they can spread it to others.
‘That’s why we’re encouraging you all to help get your kids vaccinated and get tested regularly.
‘This will help in early detection of cases, reduce the spread and retain students in education.’
It further added: ‘Vaccines are our best defense against COVID. They help protect youth, and benefit those around them.
‘Vaccination makes people less likely to catch the virus and less likely to spread it.’
The program is expected to be delivered primarily to schools, but in Scotland young people in this group can also attend drop-in vaccine clinics.
The latest figures show that more than a third of 12 to 15-year-olds in Scotland have had the jab.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has said it would support the use of walk-in centers in England if it would help ‘promote the speed of take-up and delivery’ of vaccines among the age group.
It comes after figures that the number of children out of school in England due to Covid-related reasons increased by two-thirds in a fortnight.
The Department of Education estimates that 2.5 percent of all students – more than 204,000 children – were not in class on September 30 for reasons related to the coronavirus.
ASCL Secretary General Geoff Barton said: ‘We welcome the Secretary of Education’s intervention in encouraging COVID vaccination, and really anything can be done to promote this important programme.
‘However, school leaders are increasingly frustrated about the delay in the rollout of the coronavirus vaccination.
‘There seem to be logistical issues around the ability of health teams to deliver vaccinations at the required speed and scale.
‘The urgency of this program is evident from the fact that the latest government figures show that more than 200,000 students were out of school for coronavirus-related reasons at the latest count.
‘Many schools are also facing shortage of teachers as staff are contracting the virus.’
Mr Barton has called on the government to do ‘everything possible’ to ensure that the vaccination program is properly revived to deal with the disruption.
“We would very much welcome it if walk-in centers help speed up delivery and boost take-up,” he added.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the School Leaders’ Union NAHT, said: ‘The vaccination program in secondary schools is progressing slowly.
‘It is important that the vaccine is offered to parents and young people as early as possible so that they can make their own decision about whether to take it.
‘Unfortunately, one of the reasons for the slow deployment is that children are missing out on vaccinations because they have caught COVID.
‘If they miss out on vaccination slots at school if they are sick – and they still can’t be stopped when they are sick – there is a 28-day waiting period for a child who has Covid, Vaccination can be done later.
He called for the adoption of other measures – such as better ventilation – to reduce disease and…