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Fewer than 10% of young teenagers jabbed in third of local areas in England

·4-min read

Take-up of a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine among young teenagers is below 10% in just over a third of the main local authorities in England, latest figures show.

In some areas the rate is as low as 5%, while only 15 authorities have managed to give a first jab to at least a quarter of 12 to 15-year-olds.

The picture is very different in Scotland, where take-up is already over 50% in half of local authority areas.

First doses of Covid-19 vaccine began to be rolled out to all the UK’s 3.2 million 12 to 15-year-olds nearly a month ago.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

But figures for England and Scotland – the two nations currently publishing daily statistics on take-up – show wide variations across the countries.

Analysis by the PA news agency of Government data for vaccinations delivered up to October 16 shows that:

– In 55 of the 149 upper tier local authorities in England, or 37% of the total, fewer than one in 10 children aged 12 to 15 are estimated to have received a first dose.

– Barking & Dagenham has the lowest take-up (3.5%), followed by Newham and Lewisham (both 5.2%), all of which are in London.

– Wokingham in Berkshire has the highest take-up (36.2%) and is the only area currently above 33%, followed by Derbyshire, Hertfordshire and Warrington (all 29.1%).

– In Scotland, 16 of the 32 local authority areas have now given a first dose to at least 50% of all 12 to 15-year-olds, with Dumfries & Galloway recording the highest take-up (62.9%) followed by Perth & Kinross (62.6%) and the Orkney Islands (62.1%). Highland (17.0%) has the lowest take-up.

– Take-up among 12 to 15-year-olds for the whole of Scotland now stands at 46.5%, compared with just 15.0% in England.

First doses of Covid-19 vaccine for young teenagers are being delivered in different ways in the two nations.

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK
(PA Graphics)

In England, jabs are being carried out in schools by nurses and immunisation teams.

By contrast, in Scotland doses can be received by attending drop-in vaccination centres at GP clinics, pharmacies and community centres.

Take-up is also likely to have been affected by the level of infection circulating in the community.

A first dose of vaccine cannot be delivered to someone if they are within four weeks of testing positive for Covid-19, waiting for the results of a coronavirus test, or self-isolating.

Around one in 10 children in England in school years 7 to 11 were likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 in the week to October 9 – the highest rate for any age group – according to estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

But while the overall prevalence of Covid-19 in England has risen to around one in 60 people in private households – near levels seen at the peak of the second wave of the virus – in Scotland the estimate has been falling for several weeks and currently stands at one in 80.

In a joint letter to parents of secondary school and college pupils last week, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi and Health Secretary Sajid Javid asked for parents’ “support” to encourage their children to test themselves for Covid-19 twice a week and to “come forward” for the jab to ensure face-to-face lessons can continue.

“This is one of the best things young people can do to protect themselves and those around them,” the letter said.

“Vaccines are our best defence against Covid-19. They help protect young people, and benefit those around them. Vaccination makes people less likely to catch the virus and less likely to pass it on.”

Separate figures published by Public Health Wales show that as of October 10, Neath Port Talbot was the only local authority in Wales where fewer than 10% of 12 to 15-year-olds had received one dose of vaccine (7.4%).

All other local authorities were above 10%, ranging from Gwynedd (10.2%) to Merthyr Tydfil (48.5%).

The overall take-up for Wales as of October 10 was 21.8%.

Northern Ireland has yet to begin publishing vaccination figures for 12 to 15-year-olds.

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