Vaccinating children will allow them to carry on with education “without disruption”, a Sage adviser has said.
Professor Calum Semple, of the University of Liverpool, said people were “right to be worried” about a rise in infections as pupils return to school but this should be distinguished from the more serious impacts of the virus.
“The virus will be circulating but I can reassure people that the severity of disease in children in wave one and wave two has not changed and there’s nothing to suggest it will change in wave three,” Prof Semple, speaking in a personal capacity, told the Today programme.
“If you can treat the children the same way you do with the adults, where if you’ve got double vaccination you no longer need to isolate, that would then allow us to have schools carrying on without such disruption.”
“I think we need to look at vaccinating these children not just as an individual benefit but a benefit to the root, a benefit to the whole of society and school and the education system.”
It comes as Sajid Javid prepares to set out details for NHS plans which will see thousands of staff trained to administer jabs to pupils aged between 12 and 15.
Mr Javid said the Government needed to “respond to changing circumstances and move quickly to offer the life-saving vaccine to the people who need it most”.
Follow the latest updates below.
UK records more than 32,000 new cases and 133 deaths
The UK has recorded a total of 32,406 new daily cases as at 9am this morning.
The 239,585 infections confirmed in the last seven days mark a week-on-week rise in positivity rates of eight per cent.
A total of 133 deaths were also confirmed, while 969 patients were admitted to hospital.
43,160 first doses of a coronavirus vaccine were administered, while a total of 128,248 second doses were also given out.
This means that 88.2 per cent of over-16s have had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. This figure stands at 78.2 per cent for second doses.
Vietnam reports more than 12,000 new cases
Vietnam’s health ministry reported 12,103 new coronavirus infections and 356 deaths on Friday, most of which were in Ho Chi Minh City – the epicentre of its epidemic – and its neighbouring industrial province of Binh Duong.
The country has recorded over 422,000 cases of the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
Britain is sleepwalking into another lockdown
Fingers crossed, the current surge in Covid infections, hospitalisations and deaths won’t be nearly as bad as previous waves. Or so the Government must hope. For as things stand, there is very little sign of planning for what happens if the vaccines aren’t enough, writes Jeremy Warner.
Not to put too fine a point on it, the war on Covid is once again looking like an on-the-hoof, chaotic mess. Obviously we must all hope for the best, but hope is not a strategy; ministers also need to prepare for the worst, and that means a fully thought through plan of action for avoiding the default option of renewed lockdown this winter – with all its attendant damage to education, the economy, the public finances, and general wellbeing.
It is admittedly still too early to be certain one way or the other, but worryingly we now have clear evidence that the effectiveness of vaccines wears off markedly after six months. Vaccines, it seems, may not be the salvation once assumed.
On the ground experience in Israel, which has been at the forefront of vaccine rollout, and a UK study headed by Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, have concluded that vaccine potency against infection is short lived. In other words, the destruction of another outbreak is beginning to look more likely than not.
Breath of fresh air: Queen to attend climate summit as part of packed autumn tour
After a year-and-a-half of upheaval and disruption, the Queen will now resume her full workload with palace officials outlining a packed autumn schedule of appointments.
Her Majesty will join world leaders at the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow after the pandemic suspended the event last year.
The event is expected to attract 120 heads of state, including US President Joe Biden, as well as Pope Francis and climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg. An estimated 20,000 accredited delegates will also be in tow.
The monarch is currently on her annual trip to Balmoral and will be in Scotland to attend the reception on November 1.
The Queen will also address MSPs at Holyrood’s official opening as part of a special ceremony that will celebrate the efforts of “local heroes” during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Max Stephens has the story.
NHS begins recruiting Covid vaccinators for schools
The NHS has begun recruiting vaccinators for schools, with Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary saying the Government needs to “move quickly” on the rollout of Covid jabs to children.
Mr Javid will set out details of NHS plans – revealed by The Telegraph this week – which will see thousands of staff trained to administer jabs to those aged 12 to 15 from next month.
The Health Secretary said the Government needed to “respond to changing circumstances and move quickly to offer the life-saving vaccine to the people who need it most”.
He said he had asked the NHS to make the preparations while awaiting advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on whether the rollout should be extended. So far, the committee has proved reluctant to back jabs for healthy children aged 12 to 15.
Mr Javid said: “Throughout the pandemic, the Government has planned ahead so we can respond to changing circumstances and move quickly to offer the life-saving vaccine to the people who need it most.”
Read more from Laura Donnelly and Christopher Hope.