Covid infections rose sharply for five-17-year-olds in September, with the start of the autumn school term in England, new research has shown.
A study conducted by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI between September 9 and 27 showed that infections are increasing in people under the age of 18, but increasing in those aged 18-54.
In the UK only a small number of school children aged five to 17 years have been vaccinated and currently only a single dose is being offered to children 12 years of age and older.
However, ministers were criticized for the slow pace of vaccination programs in secondary schools and earlier this week urged parents to get their children vaccinated.
The findings of the React-1 study also support the need for vaccine boosters, with a high prevalence of double-jabbed people testing positive within three to six months of their vaccination.
Researchers say it is important that vaccination programs maintain high coverage and reach children and unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated adults, to reduce transmission and related disruptions to work and education.
This comes after the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed that around one in 15 children in school years aged seven to 11 in England are estimated to have coronavirus in the week to 2 October.
Provisional data from the government’s coronavirus dashboard shows that 11.7% of 12- to 15-year-olds in England have been vaccinated by 10 October, compared with 38.9 of 12- to 15-year-olds in Scotland. % Compared to.
The study found that the overall effectiveness of the vaccine against the infection was around 63%-66% according to the React study.
More than 100,000 volunteers participated in the study to test the level of COVID-19 in the general population.
The latest figures show that the prevalence of the virus in the population in England has risen to 0.83%.
Regionally, the prevalence ranged from 0.57% in the South East to 1.25% in Yorkshire and The Humber.
There was evidence of an increase in both the East Midlands and London with an R of 1.36 and 1.59, respectively.
In households with one or more children, the prevalence was also higher at 1.32% compared to 0.42% in households without children.
Dr Jenny Harris, chief executive of the UK Health Protection Agency, said: “These figures show that while our immunization program continues to undergo drastic changes, the pandemic is not over.
“As we head towards winter, it is as important as ever that we continue to act responsibly to avoid transmission.”
Professor Paul Elliott, director of the Imperial School of Public Health’s React program, said: “Our latest data suggest that infections among school children are becoming more and more common.
“The prevalence of infection was also higher in families with children, suggesting that children can pass the virus on to people they live with.
“These trends reinforce how important it is for children 12 years of age and older to be vaccinated and vaccinated to help prevent the spread of infection and reduce disruption to education.”
PA. Additional reporting by
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