Delta variant: Expert on vaccines’ impact on transmissibility
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Health Secretary Sajid Javid has announced plans for all 16-17-year-olds to be offered the vaccine within the next ten days. Young people will be offered the first round of their vaccine by August 23 according to the unveiled plans in order to get parts of the school population inoculated before schools return in September.
Teenagers aged 16 and 17 will be offered a shot of the Pfizer vaccine, according to Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice.
Tens of thousands of youngsters in this age group have already been vaccinated at local sites and walk-in centres across the country.
The drive to offer the first jab by the new date will allow those teenagers in that age bracket the two weeks necessary to build maximum immunity before the new school term begins.
Vaccines will be available from walk-in centres across the country, which can be found on the NHS website.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It is brilliant to see tens of thousands of young people have already received their vaccine – thank you for helping to further build our wall of defence against COVID-19 across the country.
“I have asked the NHS in England to ensure they offer a first dose of the vaccine to everyone aged 16 and 17 by next Monday August 23, this will make sure everybody has the opportunity to get vital protection before returning to college or sixth form.
“Please don’t delay – get your jabs as soon as you can so we can continue to safely live with this virus and enjoy our freedoms by giving yourself, your family and your community the protection they need.”
Vaccine hesitancy has decreased in the 16-17-year-old age bracket from nine percent to five percent, according to YouGov polling.
It is hoped the levels of teenagers being vaccinated will reach the highs of other age groups, with 70 percent of all adults aged 18-29 having received at least one dose.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Young people have shown great enthusiasm to get their vaccines and this has allowed us to safely enjoy the things we have missed, such as going to the pub or seeing family and friends.
“Thank you to the NHS and volunteers for your continued dedication to protect people from this virus. I urge everybody else to get their vaccines as soon as possible.”
NHS medical director of primary care and deputy lead for vaccination programme in England, Dr Nikki Kanani, said: “Thanks to the dedication and hard work of NHS staff, well over 39 million people in England have already had their first, including more than a quarter of a million young people under the age of 18.
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“Now as teenagers prepare to head back to school or college or into their first full-time jobs, once again NHS staff are doing everything they can to offer young people the lifesaving vaccine as quickly as possible to protect themselves and others.
“Those who are eligible should check their nearest walk-in centre on the site finder today or book through their GP team once invited to do so.”
Research has estimated some 84,000 lives have been saved in the UK alone thanks to current coronavirus vaccines.
It also suggests 23.4 million infections and 66,000 hospitalisations were prevented.
The JCVI has also said vaccinating teenagers will have a positive effect on the rest of the population, as it could help prevent a fourth wave of infections and deaths in the winter.
Prof Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London and a Government adviser, said: “Vaccination of teenagers may have a major effect on the return of Covid next winter, assuming that the rates will drop this summer.
“Full vaccination takes time, so the sooner we start the sooner this age group will be protected.”
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