Expand vaccine rollout among young children to walk-in centres, government urged

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The government has been told that children should be vaccinated against Covid-19 in pharmacies and walk-in clinics to accelerate the rollout of England’s trailing 12 to 15-year-olds.

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Nearly one in 10 of this group had received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by Wednesday, compared to 30 percent of their peers in Scotland, where children can have the jab both inside and outside school.

Figures show that the government is unlikely to reach its goal of vaccinating all young children by half-term, due in part to the slow progress of the rollout due to logistical complications in the storage, preparation and administration of vaccine doses within schools. considered responsible.

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Amid widespread classroom disruption – hundreds of thousands of children have been forced into Covid-related absenteeism in recent weeks – Labor’s John Ashworth, shadow health secretary, said the government “must explain why this program is going at snail’s pace”. Its going on”.

“It will take months for all teens to catch up on current trends,” he said, adding that the rollout is needed to “start using community pharmacies and vaccination centers to increase vaccination rates.”

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In a statement to the Commons last month, then Vaccines Minister Nadim Zhawi told lawmakers that the rollout for younger children would use up “the rest of the COVID vaccine infrastructure” if schools were struggling to provide the service.

Yet teachers all over England have told Granthshala That they have not even started their rollout, or given a starting date by their local NHS vaccination team.

“We haven’t heard anything about our students being vaccinated,” said Durham Cathedral School Foundation headmaster Kieran McLaughlin. In Sheffield, Wells High School “is not scheduled to receive the vaccination team until the last week of this half term,” said principal Pepe Diacio.

Logistics complexities have hindered the rollout of Jabs at School, which was first launched on September 20.

It is understood Virgin Care, a private provider responsible for running vaccination programs in hundreds of schools in south-west England, has faced difficulties with its services.

Granthshala Reportedly, the scale of the work involved in preparing the supplies, taking the correct dosage from the vials and then injecting has strained some teams in Bath and North East Somerset, which are used to administer the flu nasal spray vaccine. is done for.

A senior NHS source acknowledged that the COVID rollout is “different from the flu schools schedule,” adding that “you have to deal with it differently, you have to wait longer afterwards, [and] There is a consent process that you have to go through with the families.”

The latest figures from the UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA) show that, as of 3 October, only 94,000 children aged 12 to 15 were vaccinated under the school programme. According to its own figures, NHS England claims the figure is over 160,000.

Unlike its neighbour, Scotland is offering jabs to people in this age group through community clinics, allowing children to get vaccinated where and when they want. On September 20, it had vaccinated 5.4 percent of its 12 to 15-year-olds. After more than two weeks, it had risen to 29.6 per cent.

Meena Fazal, an associate professor in child and adolescent psychiatry, said it “makes sense” to give more options to school children in England. “If a child is initially hesitant and doesn’t show up for an appointment, but then changes their mind after two weeks, they should be able to go elsewhere and get their vaccine,” she said.

“Maybe they are more comfortable getting vaccinated outside of school in the first place. It makes sense to broaden the options and offer the vaccine elsewhere.”

Professor Christina Pagel, director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London, said walk-in clinics that are open after schools and on weekends should be made available.

“I think we should let children vaccinate safely wherever possible,” she said. “I don’t know what the legal issues are but apparently Scotland has resolved them.

“We have been incredibly slow to roll out vaccines. People here just don’t have access. This, along with the delay in getting them approved in the first place, has come at a cost.”

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in the week to 2 October, one in 15 children of secondary school age in England had Covid – the highest rate for any age group reported during the pandemic.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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