U.K. Expands Vaccine Access for Children After Surge in Schools
(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. plans to expand access to Covid-19 vaccines for children, the head of the National Health Service said, following a surge in infections in schools.
Amanda Pritchard, head of the NHS in England, told Parliament on Tuesday that children ages 12 to 15 would be able to access vaccination centers through the national booking service. Until now, U.K. children were only eligible to receive vaccinations at school-based facilities.
“We want to do everything possible to expand and ensure we get the jabs in as efficiently and as safely as possible,” Max Blain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, told reporters Tuesday. “There are a number of challenges to vaccinating 12-15 year olds at scale and at pace.”
An estimated 8% of U.K. children in school years covering ages 11 to 16 tested positive for coronavirus in the week ending Oct. 9, according to the most recent government figures. That number is eight times higher than every adult age group and has risen from about 2% in early September before schools restarted.
Unlike the U.S., which started inoculating young people in May, and most European countries, where vaccination was largely rolled out during the school holidays, the U.K. didn’t give the green light for 12-to-15-year-olds to receive the shots until mid-September.
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