Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

Children should be offered Covid vaccine, say chief medics

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi today confirmed that children aged 12-15 years old will be able to get a Covid jab starting next week and that they can overrule parents to get the vaccine.

The vaccines minister told BBC Breakfast: “The NHS has been making plans that will hopefully be able to see the first vaccinations take place after consent, because obviously you need the information and the letters to go out and to receive that consent, by the 22nd of this month.”

Mr Zahawi also said that if a child and parent disagree about taking the vaccine and the child is deemed “competent” by clinicians, then they are able to get the Covid jab.

It comes as Boris Johnson is set to unveil a ‘toolbox’ of options to get the country through coronavirus over the winter and prevent another lockdown.

The prime minister is expected to outline a series of options, including working from home and compulsory mask wearing, as part of his Covid blueprint to manage the disease at a press conference later today.

He is also expected to announce the start of the booster jabs programme that will target the over-50s.

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Covid data expert Tim White to host an ‘ask me anything’ live ahead of the next travel announcement

Tim White, the Covid data analyst who tweets as @TWMCLtd, has trawled through the genomic sequencing records held by Gisaid, the worldwide database, with a focus on variants of concern.

He will be on hand to answer all your latest travel questions around the upcoming announcement and what might happen to the traffic light system in coming weeks during a live ‘ask me anything’ event being held on this page today (14 September).

Join Tim at 4pm today, 14 September, when he’ll be on hand to answer your travel questions about all the latest rules and restrictions live.

Joe Middleton14 September 2021 10:08

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Future lockdowns cannot ‘entirely’ be ruled out, says Labour MP

A Labour MP has said future lockdowns cannot be “entirely” ruled out and argued that it is “right” to pursue a booster vaccine programme.

Pat McFadden, shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News: “Nobody wants to go back to lockdowns after the experience of the last 18 months.

“We’ve been in and out of this three times now and nobody wants to see a fourth.

“You can’t rule it out entirely because, as the old cliche goes, prediction is a dangerous game, especially when it is about the future.

“One thing we do know is that winter is always a tough time for the NHS, so I think it is time to reboot the vaccine effort – we have fallen behind some other countries.

“We’re expecting an announcement on booster jabs today – that’s right.”

Joe Middleton14 September 2021 09:56

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Bill Gates says we aren’t ready for the next pandemic

Not enough is being done to prepare for the next pandemic, a new report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has said.

In the report, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation challenged nations to invest long-term in healthcare systems as well as calling for a reduction in vaccine and resource inequalities between high and low income nations, writes The Independent’s Thomas Kingsley.

“It seems obvious that in a globalized world, where people and goods move constantly across borders, it’s insufficient for rich countries to be the only ones with the equipment and resources to sequence viruses,” the report stated.

Joe Middleton14 September 2021 09:28

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‘Mixed messaging’ for children’s Covid jabs ‘hasn’t helped’, says public health expert

Professor Devi Sridhar, personal chair in global public health at the University of Edinburgh, said mixed messaging surrounding jabs for 12 to 15-year-olds “hasn’t helped”.

She told Good Morning Britain: “The mixed messaging hasn’t helped. I personally think part of it is because they were so late with a decision – we have just had the same evidence that other countries have had since May and June, and those countries ran ahead because they knew the school year was coming and started vaccinating their children.

“There hasn’t really been new evidence that’s come up in the UK shift in position, so I think part of that is why we have had mixed messaging – they’re trying to explain to people why they’re doing something now that they didn’t do two months ago.”

She added: “Every virologist I know, whether it’s in Germany or in France or in the States or Canada, have gotten their child vaccinated as soon as they become eligible, it hasn’t been something they struggled with, it’s been, ‘actually I want to protect my child as fast as possible’.”

Joe Middleton14 September 2021 09:09

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Covid-19 figures ‘do not bode well for winter’, expert warns

Professor Ravi Gupta, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said current data suggest that “we’re not out of the woods” and the Covid-19 figures “do not bode well for winter”.

He told Sky News: “We can see from the figures that we’re still nearing a thousand deaths a week and thousands of hospitalised patients that are challenging capacity in our hospitals – and of course making care for non-Covid patients extremely difficult as well because of the stretch of the staff that are in those hospitals who have been under pressure for 18 months now.

“So it’s pretty clear I think, from the data and from individual sources, that we’re not out of the woods and it doesn’t bode well for going into winter at all.”

He added: “If we cast our minds back to July 19, many scientists including myself, were saying that ‘we need to take this slowly because we have the transmission rates are far too high to be removing all restrictions, and this will have a knock on effect – in other words we wouldn’t get away with this as a country moving into winter’.

“And what we’re seeing now is really the result of that advice not being heeded and now we’re in a position where we’re talking about lockdowns again.

“So I think that with the correct planning, this could have been avoided.”

Joe Middleton14 September 2021 09:01

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Vaccine rollout begins next week and 12-15 year-old’s can overrule parents to get jab , confirms Zahawi

Children aged 12-15 will be able to get their first shot of coronavirus vaccine from next week, Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed.

The vaccines minister told BBC Breakfast: “The NHS has been making plans that will hopefully be able to see the first vaccinations take place after consent, because obviously you need the information and the letters to go out and to receive that consent, by the 22nd of this month.”

Asked when the booster programme would start to be administered, Mr Zahawi said the Prime Minister and Health Secretary Sajid Javid would be setting out more details later on Tuesday.

Mr Zahawi also told BBC Radio 4 Today that children can overrule parents to get the Covid jab.

He said that if a child and parent disagree about taking the vaccine and the child is deemed “competent” by clinicians, then they are able to get the Covid jab.

Joe Middleton14 September 2021 08:45

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The NHS will have a ‘tough time’ this winter, says top expert

Calum Semple, Professor of Child Health and Outbreak Medicine, told BBC Breakfast that the NHS will have a “tough time” this winter and that local health leaders may call for a return to mask wearing in public spaces.

Joe Middleton14 September 2021 08:42

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Varying advice on if children should be given Covid jab will cause ‘uncertainty’, expert admits

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), has admitted that varying advice on whether the vaccine should be given en masse to 12 to 15-year-olds from his committee versus the chief medical officers (CMOs) will cause “uncertainty, hesitation and debate” among families.

He told the BBC Today Programme: “What we tried to do right the way through the pandemic as a committee is to be open and honest with the public and give them the best advice possible…

“I think the public in the end will appreciate our honesty and I think they will also appreciate the CMOs’ perspective, and the Government offering them choice.

“I agree it will cause uncertainty, hesitation and debate within families, but sometimes life isn’t black and white, and this is one of those situations.”

He added that parents and children need to be “properly informed” and their choices on whether or not to have the vaccine should be “respected”.

Joe Middleton14 September 2021 08:31

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Pandemic police powers threaten minority ethnic groups, says report

Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are more likely to be stopped by the police, threatened or subject to police violence and falsely accused of rule-breaking and wrong-doing during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

Lockdown conditions and new police powers pose a threat to already over-policed communities and the most marginalised and vulnerable sections of society, says the study, A threat to public safety: policing, racism and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Published by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), and authored by academics from the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) based at the University of Manchester, the report is published in the context of increased scrutiny around policing, following Black Lives Matter protests and ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstrations against the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill.

The Independent’s race correspondent Nadine White, reports.

Joe Middleton14 September 2021 08:20

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Boris Johnson set to unveil ‘toolbox’ of options as part of Covid winter blueprint

Boris Johnson will today announce a ‘toolbox’ of options to get the country through coronavirus over the winter and prevent a further lockdown.

The prime minister will outline a series of options, including working from home and compulsory mask wearing, as part of his Covid blueprint to manage the disease, as reported by the Daily Mirror

Mr Johnson remains “dead set” against another lockdown, with No10 insisting it will only be considered as a “last resort”.

The prime minister is also likely to announce the start of the country’s Covid-19 vaccine booster programme for the over-50s.

Under the plan all over 50s will be offered a third jab – starting with the over 70s and the most vulnerable.

The shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be administered at least six months after the second dose amid concerns the protection it gives to older people fades over time.

Ministers believe it will help ensure the NHS is not overwhelmed by new cases of the disease as it moves into the autumn and winter.

However, it has been criticised by some scientists, who argue the priority now should be to get the jab to those countries which have received only scant quantities of the vaccine.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid will set out the details when he unveils the Government’s winter Covid plan for England in a Commons statement on Tuesday.

Joe Middleton14 September 2021 08:11

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Wizadclick | WAC MAG 2021