Coronavirus UK news update – Kids 'to get vaccines from August' as Boris Johnson says 'greed' is behind UK's jab success

Coronavirus UK news update – Kids 'to get vaccines from August' as Boris Johnson says 'greed' is behind UK's jab success

March 24, 2021

CHILDREN will start being vaccinated against Covid-19 from August, according to reports.

A report in the Telegraph suggests that a vaccine rollout for children could start as soon as the end of summer, once all adults have had their jab.

But the Department of Health and Social Care said "no decisions have been made" on whether children should be offered vaccinations.

Currently, only youngsters at very high risk of severe infection are offered a jab, a policy based on Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice.

Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said more than one study was needed before decisions were made about extending the vaccination programme to children.

“We’ll need to do more than one study,” he told Good Morning Britain.

“If it does turn out to be necessary to immunise children, I think it is more likely that we would prioritise teenagers over younger children, simply because the evidence we have at the moment is that transmission of the virus is more likely to occur from and between teenagers who are a little bit more like adults.

“I think what we need to learn before that, what proportion of the population we need to immunise in order to get effective herd immunity and to suppress circulation of the virus .

“In order to do that we need to have a clear understanding of how efficiently the vaccines actually interrupt infection and transmission and that evidence is still on its way at the moment.”

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

  • Debbie White

    MORE ON EU ROW OVER ASTRAZENACA JABS

    European Commission executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis told a Brussels press conference that AstraZeneca has "only delivered a small portion of its agreed contractual commitments" with the EU.

    The bloc has exported at least 43million doses of the various vaccines to 33 countries since the end of January, he said, but new conditions of reciprocity and proportionality would be imposed.

    Yet "continued shortfalls in production are not distributed fairly across different contracting countries", he said, in an apparent reference to the production of AstraZeneca jabs in the UK.

    The union "continues to export vaccines to countries that have production capacities of their own but when these countries do not export to the EU there is no reciprocity", he said.

    The EU faces a "very serious epidemiological situation" but "continues to export significantly to countries whose epidemiological situation is less serious than ours or whose vaccination rollout is more advanced than ours" – both descriptions which could apply to the UK.

  • Debbie White

    EU ROW CONTINUES OVER ASTRAZENACA JABS

    Amid the continued row over supplies with AstraZeneca, the EU today said member states and the commission will consider two key factors before authorising vaccine exports.

    First they will consider whether the destination country restricts its own exports of vaccines, or raw materials, by law or other means, under plans to tackle "reciprocity".

    Second, under "proportionality", they must consider whether the "conditions prevailing" in the destination country are "better or worse than the EU's", in particular its epidemiological situation, its vaccination rate and its access to vaccines.

  • Debbie White

    SURGE IN RYANAIR BOOKINGS

    Ryanair flights are being booked up by lockdown-weary Brits, reports its boss, Michael O'Leary.

    Airlines are now hoping that vaccination efforts can allow a return to fairly normal holiday plans this summer, with European destinations primarily back on the cards.

    "Families will be travelling to and from the UK, to and from Europe, going to the beaches of Europe on summer holidays that are richly deserved after the very fraught last 12 months," O'Leary said.

    He added today: "I'm pleased to report that we've had a recent surge in bookings, as the UK began to open up restrictions also, two weeks ago when Germany eased their restrictions on travel … we've seen a significant surge in bookings.

    "If you're fully vaccinated, frankly, I would be very surprised if there was any legal basis for the UK Government preventing people travelling on holidays to other European countries, which will have caught up with the UK vaccine rollout programme by the end of May or the end of June."

  • Debbie White

    PASSENGERS LIKELY TO BE ASKED TO WEAR FACE MASKS UNTIL 2022: RYANAIR BOSS

    Passengers will be asked to wear face masks on Ryanair flights potentially until 2022, the airline's boss has said, as he announced a return to a more normal summer schedule.

    The budget airline plans to run around 2,300 flights every day during the summer this year, Michael O'Leary added.

    The schedule will mean that Ryanair is running at about 80% of its usual capacity, with British people desperate to get back to European beaches, according to the chief executive.

    However, beachgoers will need to remember to pack their face masks alongside their swimwear.

    "I would imagine at this point in time, we're planning to continue to require mandatory face mask wearing on board our aircraft through the remainder of this summer schedule and next winter's schedule," Mr O'Leary said.

  • Debbie White

    EX-ARCADIA STAFF BOOSTING JABS IN WORKINGTON… MORE

    Mark Livingstone, CEO of Pharmacy2U, said: "We now have almost 20 vaccination sites, and we feel so privileged to be able to help in the national effort to vaccinate the country.

    "Being able to help ex-Arcadia employees in Workington by employing them to work at our site is an added bonus.

    “Our vaccination centres and fully trained first-aiders will be supporting pharmacists to give patients these vital vaccinations, providing an essential service to help prevent the spread of this terrible virus.

    "We’re working closely with the national and regional NHS teams to deliver further vaccination sites for patients in areas that need them most.”

  • Debbie White

    EX-ARCADIA STAFF BOOSTING JABS IN WORKINGTON

    Pharmacy2U, the UK’s largest online pharmacy, has opened a new Covid-19 vaccine site at a former Topshop store in Workington, employing ex-Arcadia staff.

    The support team on site will consist of workers who lost their job as Topshop’s owner Arcadia closed all of its stores last year.

    The Topshop jab site, based in Workington’s Dunmail Park, will be open to eligible patients with an appointment, and all vaccinations will be administered by a qualified health professional.

    When it's your turn, you'll be contacted by the NHS via letter, text or email with information on how to book your appointment and patients will be required to return for the follow up jab.

    Jabs started at the ex-Topshop store in Workington last week, joining the list of Pharmacy2U’s other Covid vaccine sites including Odeon Cinema in Aylesbury and Nuneaton, Village Hotels in Nottingham and Leeds as well as Newmarket and Aintree racecourses. Pharmacy2U’s Covid vaccine sites now total 19.

    Ex-Arcadia staff employed at new Covid vaccination site in Workington
  • Debbie White

    SHAGGY-HAIRED PETER ANDRE BEGS PM TO REOPEN BARBERS

    Peter Andre has begged Boris Johnson to open barbers while revealing his own VERY long hair.

    The Mysterious Girl singer compared himself to the shaggy-haired PM as he posted the snap of his lockdown look.

    His usually trimmed back dark hair looked out of control in the early morning snap of him staring into the camera while still in his dressing gown.

    Pete, who is married to NHS doctor Emily, wrote: "It’s not just Boris that needs a haircut. @borisjohnsonuk #openthebarbers."

    Peter Andre wants the barbers to reopen
  • Debbie White

    ZOOM APP MORE POPULAR THAN NHS TEST & TRACE

    More Britons downloaded the Zoom app than NHS Test and Trace last year, according to NHS Test and Trace chair Baroness Dido Harding.

    She told the Local Government Association conference it was, "the second most downloaded app in the country last year, only after Zoom, and slightly ahead of Tiktok.

    "21 million people downloaded the app."

  • Debbie White

    JOHN LEWIS STORES CLOSING ANNOUNCEMENT

    John Lewis has today announced that eight further department stores will not reopen after the current Covid restrictions end, with 1,465 jobs at risk.

  • Debbie White

    BORIS JOHNSON UNDER FIRE FOR 'GREED' IN VACCINE BOAST

    Vaccine campaigners have accused Boris Johnson of a "warped" understanding of the crisis after he joked that "greed" and capitalism had contributed to the UK's jab rollout success.

    The PM joked at a private meeting of Tory MPs, but then hastily sought to backtrack as he praised AstraZeneca for supplying the Oxford vaccine at cost.

    Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said: "The PM will call this comment a slip of the tongue, but it's an incredibly revealing remark.

    "It shows just how warped his understanding of this crisis is. We have a vaccine because of massive public investment and the remarkable work of scientists at publicly-funded universities.

    "We've rolled it out because of our incredible National Health Service. Greed, however, drove big pharma to privatise this work and withhold doses from millions worldwide to protect their profits."

  • Debbie White

    LONG HAUL FOR KATE GARRAWAY'S HUSBAND

    Kate Garraway was told her seriously ill husband Derek Draper could be in hospital until December.

    The Good Morning Britain presenter, 53, filmed her husband's battle with Covid-19 after his hospitalisation in March 2020.

    Viewers were given an update on Derek's condition, with the doc saying his rehabilitation is "continuing and that "doctors have extended the option of keeping him in hospital until December 2021".

    This was followed by an emotional ending between Kate and Derek, with him saying: "Thank you, I love you forever and a day."

    An emotional Kate replied: "Oh darling, I love you."

  • Debbie White

    NEW AGENCY TO TACKLE PANDEMIC RESPONSE – HEALTH SECRETARY

    The Government is introducing a new agency focused on responding to future pandemics and health crises, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

    He told the Local Government Association's conference that the new body, called the UK Health Security Agency, will be a "dedicated, mission-driven national institution for health security" which will be established on April 1.

    He said: "UKSA, as it will be known, will be this country's permanent standing capacity to plan, prevent and respond to external threats to health…

    "UKSA will work with partners around the world and lead the UK's global contribution to health security research.

    "Next, UKSA will be tasked to prevent external threats to health, deploying the full might of our analytic and genomic capability on infectious diseases… in all, helping to cast a protective shield over the nation's health."

  • Debbie White

    UK URGED TO SHARE COVID JABS 'ONE-FOR-ONE' WITH POORER COUNTRIES

    The UK should consider sharing its jabs with poorer countries on a "one-for-one" basis once it has vaccinated the highest risk groups, an expert has urged.

    Jane Halton, co-chairwoman of the Covax initiative – which is working to provide vaccines for low and middle-income countries – said it is time for a "fair and sensible conversation" about the sharing of vaccines.

    Asked about the growing gap between the rich and poor world when it comes to vaccines, Halton told Times Radio: "I don't know that I've actually got to the point of outrage yet but I would say a high level of anxiety and concern.

    "We are on the cusp of doing the right thing or the wrong thing and decisions that we make in the next few weeks and months will determine whether we actually get the whole world out of this terrible mess, and not just the high-income countries."

  • Debbie White

    UK LIGHTS UP TO MARK HORRIFIC COVID DEATH TOLL

    Brits up and down the country last night stood in reflection as they marked one year on from the first Covid lockdown.

    Doorsteps were lit up with candlelight at 8pm as households remembered the 126,000 Brits who have lost their lives to the vicious bug.

    Britain's skyline turned yellow as landmarks including the London Eye, Trafalgar Square and Wembley Stadium lit up at nightfall.

    Elsewhere, Liverpool Town Hall, Blackpool Tower and St Mary's Lighthouse shone a light for those bereaved, alongside the Lincoln Cathedral.

    Joining them were parliaments and assemblies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as Cardiff's University and City Hall, Belfast's Titanic Building and City Hall, and Edinburgh's St Andrew's House.

  • Debbie White

    FACE MASKS RULE 'MAY GO LATER IN 2021' – EXPERT

    Asked about the future wearing of masks and social distancing, Professor Neil Ferguson told BBC Breakfast: "I suspect later this year, the mandates, the legal requirements to do some of those things will have gone.

    "People have got used to being very cautious around each other, used to wearing masks.

    "I can't predict how quickly that will change or whether we've actually seen a permanent change in society, to some degree."

    The scientific adviser added: "I think it's quite possible that this pandemic, which has been an immensely traumatic event for this country and for the world, will cause significant long-term cultural changes, behavioural changes in the population.

    "We have got used to being careful, particularly if we're slightly ill ourselves, about not wanting to infect other people, and so those sort of things may well happen here."

  • Debbie White

    HEALTH JOBS POPULAR

    The chief executive of independent care provider Barchester Healthcare Pete Calveley said just 0.1% of potential recruits had declined a job offer since the company imposed its mandatory vaccination policy in mid-January.

    Mr Calveley said he did not think the policy would deter people from applying to a sector that suffers badly from staff shortages.

    Speaking to the Today programme, he added: "Concerningly, of the nurses who apply, 1.4% – so 14 times as many – have declined a job offer because they refused to have the vaccine.

    "But in terms of the impact it has, that's a tiny impact on the number of job applications."

    He continued: "In fact, a lot of staff are actually applying because of our policy – they don't want to work with colleagues who for their own personal reasons aren't prepared to do their professional duty."

  • Debbie White

    GENDER REVELATION NOT NEEDED FOR JABS

    Brits no longer need to specify their gender before booking a Covid-19 vaccine after trans communities were “excluded” by the earlier booking system.

    Health bosses hope new measures will encourage more trans and non-binary people to get jabbed.

    Lead NHS Digital service designer Emma Parnell said the design of an earlier system had not accounted for them.

    She said: “The trans community had already experienced difficulties ordering coronavirus tests, with some councils setting up alternative provision for trans people.

    “It was therefore important to me that the vaccination service tackled these issues from the start.”

  • Debbie White

    FRANCE UNLIKELY TO BE ADDED TO UK RED LIST

    Number 10 sources have this week played down suggestions that France could be added to the UK's travel “red list” of countries, saying such a move would be “disproportionate”.

    This comes as holidays abroad for people in England are set to be banned until July, with Brits facing £5,000 fines for trying to leave the country.

    Ministers are due to announce the ban on April 12 when the government's travel task force delivers a report.

    The PM told reporters yesterday that “we must be wary of the potential for a third wave” – referring to the surge in cases on the European continent.

    He also said the UK needed to be prepared to take “necessary extra measures”, adding that foreign holidays “certainly look difficult for the time being”.

  • Debbie White

    BRITS AT RISK OF DEADLY COVID VARIANTS FROM FRANCE

    Mutant Covid strains could be entering the UK from France as 68 per cent of travellers are exempt from quarantine.

    Boris Johnson is reportedly facing growing pressure from his SAGE advisers to enforce tougher border controls on our European neighbours.

    This comes as deadly South African and Brazilian variants, both of which are more resistant to vaccines, now account for 40 per cent of new cases in some areas of France, according to data shown to ministers.

    Both Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, and his deputy Jonathan Van-Tam, are said to be “very concerned” because most people travelling from France do not have to quarantine, The Times reports.

    Yesterday, Van-Tam told MPs that 68 per cent of French arrivals — mostly lorry drivers – do not have to self-isolate.

  • Debbie White

    AUTUMN COVID BOOSTER JABS VITAL

    Professor Neil Ferguson says Covid booster jabs this autumn will be "critical".

    He added today: "We don't yet know how long the immunity lasts from the vaccines we're giving, but natural immunity to coronavirus probably lasts a year or so, so it's entirely likely we will need to boost immunity.

    "We can't stop things like the Brazilian and the South African variants forever and they are different immunologically.

    "The current vaccines are not as effective against those strains probably, so for that reason as well we want to update vaccines and boost people's immunity."

    Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson – also known as 'Prof Lockdown'Credit: Reuters
  • Debbie White

    PROF LOCKDOWN – UK 'MORE NORMAL BY AUTUMN'

    Professor Neil Ferguson says he is "optimistic we'll be able to start seeing each other again in the next month, which is within the road map plan".

    The scientific adviser added: "Depending what happens in other areas of the world, travel may be one of the later things to be relaxed.

    "But I think we… whilst not everything will be back to normal by the summer, certainly by the autumn, it will feel a lot more normal."

  • Debbie White

    SOUTH AFRICAN CORONA MUTANT 'COULD HIT UK JABS'

    Scientific adviser Professor Neil Ferguson, Imperial College London, has warned over concerns that the South African variant could undermine the UK's jab programme.

    The expert – dubbed 'Prof Lockdown' – told BBC Breakfast the coronavirus surge hitting Europe has "already happened to us.

    "And we're through to the other side. But the real concern is things like the South African variant, where the vaccination programme we're currently using – whilst it would still give some protection against that (variant) – the protection would be reduced."

    He said the UK has "rolled out vaccination very fast and so we are in a very different position for most European countries".

    On keeping to the PM's road map to freedom, he said the UK has a "very good chance of both being able to relax measures and not needing to tighten up".

  • Debbie White

    MORE ON WORKING FROM HOME PLANS…

    Sources have told The Times that some government figures want to enshrine a simple legal right to work from home.

    Under current official coronavirus restrictions, "everyone who can work from home must do so".

    The guidance is in place until at least June 21 across England in a bid to stop the resurgence of Covid cases.

    A minister told The Times: "Covid has moved the flexible working agenda on years.

    "As we recover from lockdown there’s lots we can do to keep the freedoms people have gained to set their own working patterns."

  • Debbie White

    FREEDOM TO WFH FOREVER

    Brits may be given the freedom to work from home forever under plans to make flexi-working permanent.

    Home offices and Zoom meetings could remain the norm even after the pandemic as the government looks set to give office workers more choice in where and when they work.

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is expected to look at extending the existing flexible working rights later this year.

    Current rules mean employees can request changes in working patterns and employers must deal with these in a "reasonable manner" within three months.

    Ministers may also extend the existing scheme further by introducing the right to request ad hoc flexible working, meaning Brits can change their hours to when it suits them.

  • Debbie White

    ASTRAZENECA SLAMMED FOR 'UNDER-DELIVERING' TO EU

    Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts has accused AstraZeneca of "over-promising and under-delivering" in its dealings with the EU, criticising it as "a company that cannot be relied upon".

    He blamed quarrels over exports of vaccines between the bloc and other countries on the UK-based firm rather than strained relations between the union and the British Government.

    "We are in this position because of the inability to fulfil promises of a vaccine manufacturer – in this case AstraZeneca," he BBC Radio 4.

    He added: "(AstraZeneca has been) over-promising and under-delivering by massive amounts – we can foresee that they have bungled up at least twice their test data so we can see that everything points to a company that cannot be relied upon."

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