Related video: Gavin Williamson wants Covid vaccine rolled out to children under 16
Being double-jabbed almost halves the likelihood of long Covid in adults who get coronavirus, a new study has suggested.
Researchers at King’s College London also said that being admitted to hospital with the virus was 73 per cent less likely, and the chances of severe symptoms were reduced by almost a third (31 per cent) in the fully vaccinated.
The team analysed data from more than two million people logging their symptoms, tests and vaccine status on the UK Zoe Covid Symptom Study app between 8 December 2020 and 4 July this year.
The education secretary said the decision was not “either/or” and insisted the NHS was “ready to go into schools and deliver that vaccination programme for children” when given the go-ahead by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
NHS ‘ready and eager’ to roll out Covid vaccine to children under 16, says Gavin Williamson
The NHS is “ready and eager” to deliver the Covid vaccine to school children between the ages of 12 and 15, education secretary Gavin Williamson has said.
The cabinet minister said he “hoped” the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – the expert body advising the government on the programme – would soon recommend jabs for children under 16.
Mr Williamson claimed both the health service and schools would be ready to deliver a programme of jabs for teenagers “at pace”.
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Education secretary heaps pressure on scientists to approve jab for 12 to 15-year-olds
Nearly a million people suffer long Covid, ONS data shows
An estimated 384,000 people in private households in the UK have experienced self-reported “long Covid” that has lasted for at least a year, new figures suggest.
This is up slightly from 380,000 in a similar survey carried out one month earlier.
The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), are based on responses collected in the four weeks to 1 August.
They also suggest a total of 970,000 people in the UK experienced long Covid during the period of the survey, defined as symptoms persisting for more than four weeks after their first suspected coronavirus infection.
This is up from 945,000 in the previous survey.
Over the same period, an estimated 38,000 children in the UK aged from two to 16 had self-reported long Covid, the figures showed.
JCVI right to delay child vaccine ruling while pros and cons are weighed up, says professor
Professor Saul Faust, director of the National Institute for Health Research Southampton clinical research facility and lead investigator for the Cov-Boost trial, said he understood the JCVI’s “wish and need to gather more evidence” before giving advice – arguing that the any risks to youngsters should be properly considered before proceeding with the vaccine rollout.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think medicine is never that clear cut and I think (the) JCVI have been very clear throughout the pandemic that they are looking at all the data in the round to protect the population and to make sure that any potential risk of side effects is mitigated.
“And I think they’re not being at all hesitant. They’re simply saying they would like to assess more data, and they want to be sure that the benefit to children is significant, not just the benefit to society.
“Because whilst we might reduce the transmission in society by immunising all the teenagers, and we might well do that a little bit, we have to be absolutely certain that we’re not doing harm to children who otherwise are not suffering from Covid in the sense that they’re dying or they’re going into hospital.”
Suicide rate fell during first Covid lockdown, data suggests
The suicide rate in England and Wales fell during the first national coronavirus lockdown, analysis of death registrations suggests.
Some 1,603 suicides occurred between April and July 2020, around three-quarters of which were of males, according to analysis of provisional data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is down 18 per cent from the same period in 2019 and 12.7 per cent below the average for the previous five years.
Julie Stanborough, ONS head of health analysis and life events, said: “The latest available evidence shows that suicide rates did not an increase during the early stages of the pandemic, which is contrary to some speculation at the time.
“Instead, we found suicide rates to be lower between April and July 2020 - the first wave of Covid-19 in England and Wales - when compared to the same period in previous years.”
She said the findings are consistent with more contemporaneous surveillance, and research on other countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan and Australia.
To contact the Samaritans helpline, call 116 123. The phone line is open 24 hours, seven days a week.
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WHO monitoring new coronavirus variant named Mu
In case you missed it, as we reported yesterday a new coronavirus variant first discovered by the World Health Organisation in January 2021 has been designated a variant of interest.
The variant, B.1.621 - or Mu - is the fifth Covid variant of interest.
It was first identified in Colombia at the start of the year but cases have since been recorded in other parts of South America and across Europe.
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Studies are still needed to determine whether the new variant will be more resistant to vaccines
Slight fall in Covid cases, Test and Trace figures show
A total of 198,626 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to 25 August, down 1 per cent on the previous week, according to the latest Test and Trace figures.
The number of people testing positive has been around 200,000 in the five most recent weeks of data.
Some 13 per cent of people - around one in eight - who were transferred to Test and Trace in England in the week to 25 August were not reached, meaning they were not able to provide details of recent close contacts.
This is up slightly from 12.3 per cent in the previous week.
‘Four in five’ amber list arrivals adhered to quarantine requirements
Four out of five arrivals from amber list locations adhered to coronavirus quarantine requirements in July, research suggests.
Some 83 per cent of respondents to an Office for National Statistics survey of 848 adults arriving in England from an amber country or territory between 12-17 July said they self-isolated.
They were required to quarantine for 10 days unless they were exempt due to their job, or they took part in the Test to Release scheme.
Nine out of 10 respondents said they took both of the required day-two and day-eight coronavirus tests.
Sturgeon confirms Scotland vaccine passport plans
Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she intends to introduce vaccine passports at nightclubs and large events in Scotland later this month, as she described a surge in new coronavirus cases in Scotland was “extremely concerning”.
Scotland’s first minister also urged the public to consider reducing contact with people and said it would be “grossly irresponsible” to rule out reimposing restrictions.
Ms Sturgeon, who recently emerged from self-isolation following a negative PCR test, said an 80 per cent rise in infections over the past week means the “next few days will be crucial” in informing a decision on whether to reimpose restrictions.
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First minister suggests rise in infections due to schools returning was worse than expected – as pupils return in England and Wales
NHS services will be cut without £10bn extra funding, government warned
Boris Johnson’s government must boost the NHS budget by around £10bn or crucial services will have to be cut, two major organisations representing the health service have warned.
Almost half of the extra money will be needed to cover costs related to the Covid crisis, said NHS Providers and the NHS Confederation said.
But billions more will be needed to help tackle the huge waiting lists for operations and other procedures, the organisations said in report revealing the costs facing the health service in England.
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‘Patients genuinely are at peril,’ say health service leaders
UK expected to see ‘significant surge’ in Covid cases
A “significant surge” in cases is expected in the UK but it is too early to say whether that might mean the relaxation of restrictions needs to be rolled back, an expert has warned.
Professor Neil Ferguson said if daily cases start going above 100,000 to 150,000 there will be “significant demands on the health system”.
The scientist, from Imperial College London, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said it will be for the government to decide on potential measures and would not be drawn on what form they might take.
He said there were concerns about the effect schools reopening could have on virus spread, especially with the more transmissible Delta variant.
He said: “We expect to see quite a significant surge in cases, to some extent in hospitalisations, but whether that’s going to require any rolling back of the relaxation of restrictions is too early to say. It really depends on the level of healthcare demand.”
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