Government turbo-charges vaccine rollout in children: NHS teams will visit hundreds of schools this week to offer Covid jabs to students after just 19.3% of 12-15 year olds came forward for their first vaccine

  • Health workers from NHS are expected to visit more than 800 schools in England this week to offer Covid jabs
  • More than 600,000 young people have been vaccinated since 12 – 15 year olds became eligible in September
  • More than 140,000 have their vaccine booked over the next few weeks when they return from half term break
  • Health Secretary Sajid Javid insists vaccines are safe and has urged everyone who is eligible to come forward 

Health teams will visit more than 800 schools across England this week to offer children aged 12-15 a coronavirus vaccine.

Many more pupils returning to classrooms after the October half-term break can get a jab at school, NHS England said.

Alternatively, children can make an appointment to visit a vaccination centre using the national booking system which has also been opened to this age group.

NHS teams are set to visit hundreds of schools in the next week to offer children a jab.

More than 600,000 young people have been vaccinated since the jabs rollout was extended to include 12 to 15-year-olds at the end of September, NHS England said.

Health teams will visit more than 800 schools across England this week to offer children aged 12-15 a coronavirus vaccine

Some 163,000 young people received a jab in the week after the national booking system opened up to them from October 22.

A further 140,000 children have their vaccine booked over the next few weeks, NHS England added.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘The vaccines are safe and will help keep children in the classroom – I encourage everyone to come forward for their jab to protect themselves and the people around them.’

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for the NHS Covid-19 vaccine programme, said: ‘As our children return to the classroom, our efforts to vaccinate children will not stop – hundreds more schools will be vaccinating this week.

‘It’s really important that we continue with the same enthusiasm if we want to ensure children get to stay in the classroom with their fellow pupils this winter, and so I encourage all parents and guardians to head online and read the information on vaccinating your child, so you can make an informed decision.’

Pictured: Health Secretary Sajid Javid insists vaccines are safe and has urged everyone who is eligible to come forward

England’s Covid vaccine drive for children is going even more slowly than first thought. An update to official figures on the dashboard revised down the proportion of 12 to 15-year-olds (purple line) that had been inoculated from 22 to 19 per cent

Polling conducted by YouGov suggested only half of 12 to 15-year-olds had been invited for a vaccine, according to their parents. NHS England said it had already invited everyone in the age group and was now sending out follow up letters

Pupils are also being urged to get tested for coronavirus before returning to school to minimise disruption to lessons and to ensure families can ‘enjoy the best’ of the festive season.

Ministers and the UK Health Security Agency are calling on young people to take a rapid lateral flow test before the end of the October half-term to help prevent Covid-19 entering the classroom.

It comes after it was reported England’s Covid vaccine drive for children is going even slower than thought, according to official data which prompted calls for the NHS to speed up the roll out over fears it could leave No10 with no option but to resort to Plan B.

Just 19.3 per cent of 12 to 15 year olds have come forward for their first jab, figures on the Government dashboard show, despite the whole group being eligible since September 20.

The children’s roll out has been beset by delays and cancellations, while critics complained the decision to only let youngsters get jabbed in schools hampered the drive. Uptake rates were always expected to be lower in children — who face a tiny risk from Covid and a higher risk of complications from the jab. 

NHS England insisted today all children had already been invited for their first jab and repeated that they can now book online, after leaked Whitehall documents claimed half the age group is still yet to get a jab offer.


Vaccines for children must be ‘turbocharged’ , former health secretary Jeremy Hunt (Pictured left) said last week as he warned if cases rebound England may have to enact Plan B restrictions (right) to prevent spiking cases overbearing the NHS

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt last week urged ministers to ‘turbo-charge’ the roll out to avoid another rebound in Covid cases which could force ministers to impose Plan B — bringing back face masks and work from home guidance.

Meanwhile, a report claimed that only half of 12 to 15-year-olds in England have been invited for their Covid vaccine.

Internal polling conducted by YouGov for ministers found just half of parents said their son or daughter had been told to get their first dose. 

But two-thirds said they were keen to get their child vaccinated once they were invited. Only 16 per cent said their offspring would not get the jab.

An NHS England spokeswoman today insisted all eligible children had been invited for their vaccine, saying: ‘Actually, the NHS has issued 2.6million invites to 12 to 15-year-olds for their vaccine this week since the national booking system opened to this age group last week.

‘Families can head to the national booking system to book their children’s vaccine online or get their jab through the school programme.’ 

The internal figures — seen by PoliticsHome — were circulated among ministers to show how the roll out is progressing.

It is not clear how many parents were questioned in the polling, nor when it was carried out.

Coronavirus cases fall for SEVENTH day in a row: Infections drop 8.2% in a week to 41,278 but deaths rise by 31 to 166 and hospitalisations remain flat

  • Department of Health bosses posted 41,278 infections today, down 8.2 per cent on last Saturday’s 44,985 
  • Covid hospitalisations also fell 3.9 per cent to 1,038 on Tuesday, the latest date data is available for 
  • Number of people dying the virus increased by 23 per cent from 135 last Saturday  to 166 today 

Britain’s Covid crisis appears to be continuing to shrink with daily cases falling for the seventh day in a row today, official data has shown.

Department of Health bosses posted 41,278 new coronavirus infections today, down 8.2 per cent on last Saturday’s figure of 44,985.

And Covid hospitalisations also fell 3.9 per cent to 1,038 on Tuesday, the latest date data is available for. It was down from the week before when 1,080 were admitted with the virus.

But the number of people dying the virus increased by nearly a quarter, up 23 per cent from 135 last Saturday to 166 today.

Hospitalisations and deaths both lag behind changes in daily infections because of the time it takes for the virus to incubate and disease to become severe.

The figures come after separate official data released yesterday showed more than a million people in England were infected with Covid on any day during the last week before half-term.

Bosses at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate around one in 50 people — the equivalent of 1,102,800 — would have tested positive on any given day during the seven-day spell ending October 22. It claims infections have risen by almost 13 per cent in a week, soaring to a level not seen since the darkest days of Britain’s pandemic crisis in early January. 

Meanwhile, separate figures from the UK Health Security Agency, which took over from the now-defunct PHE, yesterday showed the the R rate also rose and is now thought to be around 1.1 to 1.3, up from 1.0 to 1.2. It means for every 10 people infected, between 11 and 13 other will get the virus.

However, both estimates are based on old data and the fresher Government statistics show the country’s outbreak has already started to shrink, even before children broke up for half-term.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of London this afternoon to protest against the possible introduction of vaccine passports as part of the Government’s winter Covid ‘Plan B’.

Protestors marched through Piccadilly Circus in the centre of the city at around 1pm, holding signs reading ‘no vaccine passports’.

Few wore face coverings as they walked through the busy streets under the supervision of police. Some held signs saying ‘medical freedom’, while others flew the St George’s flag.

Video footage show some demonstrators clashing with officers outside the Australian Embassy as the most peaceful protest became more violent.

In the video, protestors shout in the face of three officers standing outside the embassy. A woman pushes one of the officer before he pushes them back and a man shouts ‘stop the violence’. 

London Metropolitan Police said: ‘Demonstrators gathered outside Australian House as part of a protest taking place in central London today. 

‘Officers outside the property prevented demonstrators from causing criminal damage.’

In other coronavirus developments:

  • Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of London this afternoon to protest against the possible introduction of vaccine passports as part of the Government’s winter Covid ‘Plan B’; 
  • Wales is set to tighten Covid restrictions to tackle a rising number of hospital admissions; 
  • A SAGE expert said further coronavirus waves cannot be ruled out and there is a lot of uncertainty about how the pandemic will pan out into the first half of next year; 
  • Official data showed England’s Covid vaccine drive for children is going even slower than thought, prompting calls for the NHS to speed up the roll out over fears it could leave No10 with no option but to resort to Plan B;
  • Health chiefs yesterday claimed Covid vaccines appear to work just as well against the more transmissible Delta variant offshoot as they do on its ancestor.

No10’s advisers said it was likely that cases would eventually fizzle out in children because they have built-up such high levels of immunity following the back-to-class wave. They also claimed half-term would act as a natural fire-breaker by curbing indoor mixing of children. 

‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist who sits on SAGE, yesterday argued Plan B — which would see the return of face masks and work from home guidance if the NHS becomes overwhelmed — ‘shouldn’t be necessary’, if cases keep dropping and the booster roll-out continues at speed. 

Separate data from the country’s largest symptom-tracking study on Thursday suggested Britain is ‘worryingly close’ to recording 100,000 new Covid infections per day. 

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist running the study, suggested the official Government daily count could be vastly underestimating the extent of Covid prevalence. 

It comes as Health Secretary Sajid Javid today called on all secondary school and college students to get tested regardless of symptoms before they return to classrooms next week. ONS data showed 9.1 per cent of children in years 7 to 11 had the virus on any given day last week.

Mr Javid said: ‘It is vital that they are taking free and easy rapid tests that will help detect Covid infections from those who are not showing symptoms to keep the virus at bay.’

Your country needs you… to get your booster! Boris and Sajid urge Britons to get their third Covid jabs amid fears of waning immunity

  • PM says the double-jabbed should not be ‘over-confident’ about their immunity
  • Mr Johnson said failing to take up offer of third jab risks them falling ‘seriously ill’ 
  • Sajid Javid echoed PM’s sentiment, calling on people to ‘muster collective spirit’ 

Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid are telling Britons today that their country needs them to get their Covid-19 booster jabs.

Reminding the public of the risks still posed by coronavirus, the Prime Minister says those who have been double-vaccinated should not be ‘over-confident’ about their immunity – and risk becoming ‘seriously ill’ if they fail to take up the offer to get their third.

Saying ‘people don’t quite realise the first two jabs start to wane’ and urging the over-50s, who qualify for a booster shot six months and one week after their second jab, to book an appointment even if the NHS has not contacted them, he adds: ‘Please, please, please can everybody get their boosters.’

As The Mail on Sunday revealed last week, Ministers want people to be able to book their booster a month before it is due, but there has been frustration about delays.

Mr Javid said last night: ‘I have asked officials to change the booking system so those eligible will be able to book their booster at five months so they can receive their jab as soon as they reach the six-month mark. 

‘This change will be made in the coming days.

‘Not only will you be protecting yourself, you’ll be giving this country the best chance of getting through the winter without restrictions, and making sure that the painful restrictions of last winter are an exception and not a rule.’

Echoing Mr Johnson’s warning, the Health Secretary said: ‘Although our vaccines give powerful protection, we know the protection from a Covid-19 vaccine wanes over time, just as it does with other vaccines. 

Reminding the public of the risks still posed by coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) says those who have been double-vaccinated should not be ‘over-confident’ about their immunity – and risk becoming ‘seriously ill’ if they fail to take up the offer to get their third

Echoing Mr Johnson’s warning, Health Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) said: ‘Although our vaccines give powerful protection, we know the protection from a Covid-19 vaccine wanes over time, just as it does with other vaccines.’

‘This is likely to be most evident in older people or clinically at-risk groups. A small drop in immunity can mean a big impact on our NHS and many unnecessary lives lost. 

‘I am calling on all eligible people to muster the collective spirit that has got us this far and do your bit for your country by getting boosted.’

Some 270,785 booster jabs were administered on Friday, taking the total to 7,564,423. The average number given daily over the past week was 273,000. 

By comparison, the peak seven-day rolling average for second jabs came on April 26, with 416,000. It comes as:

Mr Johnson said that while Covid case numbers were ‘high’, they ‘do not constitute any reason to go to Plan B’ and tightened restrictions. 

He added: ‘Rather than thinking new restrictions, the best thing everybody can do is get that booster jab as soon as you’re offered it.’

Expressing concern about those who have been double-jabbed not bothering to get a booster, he said: ‘How tragic it would be if people who had other complications in their health got seriously ill because they were over-confident about their level of immunity.’

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