Covid infections ‘sharply increased in five to 17-year-olds in September’

In September, five- to 17-year-olds experienced a sharp rise in the infection, which coincided with the beginning of autumn schooling in England, new research has revealed.

A study conducted by Imperial College and Ipsos Mori between September 9 and September 27 showed that the incidence was increasing among those under the age of 18, but falling in the 18-54 age group.

Only a few school children aged five to 17 are vaccinated in the UK and are currently being given the same dose for 12 and older.

However, ministers have been criticized for slowing down the vaccination program in high schools, and parents earlier this week urged parents to vaccinate their children.

The findings of the React-1 study support the need for vaccine enhancers, with double-jabbed people testing positive for the highest dose at three to six months after their vaccination.

Researchers say the vaccination program is important to maintain coverage and to reach children and adults who are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated, and to reduce work-related problems.

Statistics from the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate that one in 15 children in England aged 7 to 11 have coronavirus in the week of October 2.

Provisional data from the Government’s Coronavirus Dashboard indicate that 11.7% of 12- to 15-year-olds in England have been vaccinated by October 10, compared to 38.9% of 12- to 15-year-olds in Scotland.

Response studies have estimated the overall effectiveness of the vaccine against infection to be 63% -66%, the study found.

Over 100,000 volunteers participated in the study to examine levels of covid-19 in the general population.

Recent data shows that the spread of the virus in England’s population has increased to 0.83%.

Regionally, it ranges from 0.57% in the Southeast to 1.25% in Yorkshire and The Humber.

There is also evidence of growth in the East Midlands and London with an R of 1.36 and 1.59, respectively.

In households with one or more children, prevalence increased by 1.32% compared to 0.42% in childless households.

Dr Jenny Harris, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “Although our vaccination program continues to make a big difference, these data show that the epidemic is not over.

“As we move toward winter, it’s important that we continue to act responsibly to avoid dispersal.”

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the Imperial School of Public Health’s React Program, said: “Our latest data shows that infections are increasing and increasing in school-age children.

“Households with children also have a higher rate of infection, suggesting that children can spread the virus to those they live with.

“These trends reinforce how important it is to vaccinate children 12 and older and prevent the spread of infection and reduce the barrier to education.”

Additional report by PA

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