Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, has challenged the Government to offer ever 12–15-year-olds a Covid vaccine by the end of the Christmas holidays, as recent figures reveal just 37.4% of schoolchildren in Rochdale have had their first jab.
Tony said, “With omicron cases on the rise, the Government must use the Christmas holidays to vaccinate as many children as possible in Rochdale and prevent more school chaos next term.
“Because of the Conservative’s complacency, we are now in a race against time to protect children’s health and education as the omicron variant spreads. Local authorities, staff and parents in our community are doing their best under difficult circumstances, but the vaccine roll-out is slowing and Covid-related school absences are rising.
“Ministers must urgently adopt Labour’s vaccine guarantee to help keep our kids in class in the new year.”
Nationally, less than half (45%) of children aged 12–15 have received their first vaccination and the weekly number of jabs given to schoolchildren has dropped 80% since half-term. There is also a regional postcode lottery; in a class of 30 children, 13 will have received a jab in the North West.
The latest statistics reveal 235,000 state school pupils were absent from school due to Covid on 9 December, up 13% in the last fortnight, and there have been at least two confirmed Omicron variant outbreaks in primary schools in England. With schools soon to close for the Christmas holiday, Labour is calling for children to have access to walk-in clinics, and a proactive campaign to promote the benefits of vaccinations to parents and discredit the anti-vax disinformation.
Labour has also urged Ministers to provide clarity for parents on the approval of the vaccine for those aged 12 and under.
Notes to editors:-
· Regional data is from House of Commons Library analysis of government data: Gov.uk coronavirus dashboard, vaccine age demographics file.
· Decrease in first vaccinations administered calculated by:
– dividing the last available rolling weekly total (12 December – 36,978 ) by the rolling weekly total for the first week since half-term (06 November – 185,730).
– 1 – 0.199 = 80.1% decrease in first vaccinations.
· All data taken from the Government’s Coronavirus Data Hub – England – vaccine age demographics file: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/download
Covid school absence data is from: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2021-week-50
· Two Omicron outbreaks have been confirmed in primary schools in England: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nhs-staff-ready-to-give-covid-vaccines-to-children-as-young-as-five-c3n8sj5vh