EVERY kid in the UK should be jabbed before Britain moves onto the final stage of unlocking, say doomsters from Sage.
In a call to delay July 19, some experts say the country shouldn’t take back its freedom until every youngster has had both vaccinations.
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Chris Whitty has said restrictions in England are on course to lift on July 19Credit: PA
But his Sage colleague, Professor John Edmunds, has warned children must be vaccinated first
Scientists have clashed over plans for the coming weeks – after Professor Chris Whitty said the date IS the right time to end restrictions and England is on track to open up as much as possible for summer.
The Chief Medical Officer for England told a cabinet briefing on Monday the country’s recent spike in Covid cases was not leading to a sharp rise in hospital admissions.
But Professor John Edmunds said we must delay – to make sure schoolkids have been offered the vaccination.
He told BBC’s Newsnight: “At some point we do have to dismantle all of these measures that we’ve put in place.
“I think, for me, the safest time to do that is when children have been vaccinated, certainly secondary school aged children at least. That’s the safest way.”
And he says the only way out of the crisis is to jab every person in the country.
“If we can show it’s safe, and I think we are still gathering data from where vaccine has been used overseas, in Israel and the US and elsewhere, I think that’s going to be the way we can put this epidemic behind us and children can move on,” he said.
“Until we do that there’ll be other sorts of disruptions, whether they’re related to mass testing or whether it’s related to exclusions of bubbles.
Currently, it’s understood children won’t be recommended the jab until there’s more evidence from countries where youngsters are being vaccinated
But Prof Whitty confirmed in an address to Brits earlier this month that the idea is being seriously consideredCredit: Getty
The UK is set to reopen fully in July – as rising cases of Covid don’t yet appear to be translating into a surge of hospitalisationsCredit: PA
“I think all of these measures do have to go, and I think children are looking on and thinking, ‘Well, vaccinated adults can get on with their lives, so why can’t I?’
“We do have to give that serious consideration between now and September.”
But Prof Whitty – who previously told Brits officials are weighing up the benefits of giving kids the jab – has reportedly told ministers summer is the time to ease as many restrictions as possible.
The academic warned winter would prove harder because the virus can spread more when people are indoors.
A cabinet source told The Times: “The view among the scientists was that we should get as much open this summer as possible before winter, which will be much more difficult.
“It was very encouraging.”
Another source said Prof Whitty had been “cautiously optimistic”.
However, many of the current vaccinations are believed to be safe for youngsters already.
Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen are all being tested on under-18s.
WHITTY ‘OPTIMISTIC’ FOR JULY OPENING
In its own clinical trial, Pfizer found that the vaccine appeared 100 per cent effective. There were no serious side effects.
No firm decision has been reached in Government over the issue – despite teaching unions calling for youngsters to get the vaccine.
That’s because children are very unlikely to be badly affected by coronavirus – meaning the jab wouldn’t be given to protect their health, but to boost the chances of a return to normality.
Prof Whitty said earlier this month that officials will weigh up any risk caused by the jab against the impact a missed education has on youngsters.
And Boris Johnson yesterday told the cabinet he was “increasingly confident” that all social-distancing rules will be removed on July 19 – and Brits will have to “learn to live” with the virus from there.
He said there had been “much shallower growth” in the number of deaths and patients requiring hospital care.
Covid cases are rising in the UK, although hospitalisations remain relatively low
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Cabinet agreed that once we have completed the road map, we will be able to live with Covid in the future even if cases continue to rise, thanks to the protections provided by the vaccine.”
And a readout from the meeting said: “The Prime Minister outlined that yesterday we finalised the interim review and that the data shows cases continuing to rise but hospitalisations and deaths have seen a much shallower growth.
“He reiterated the Government’s position that we are therefore increasingly confident in taking the final step on July 19, when even more vaccinations have been offered.”
Yesterday, a total of 20,479 more Covid cases were recorded in the UK – an increase of 75 per cent over the course of the week.
Hospital admissions in England have doubled this month but are still averaging only 204 a day, compared with a peak of more than 4,000 in January.
And by July 19, two thirds of adults will have had both doses of their vaccines.
Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said last month that delaying the final relaxations until July 19 would halve the impact of a summer peak, but added that “it’s not very obvious that you get much more gain from going on longer”.
Meanwhile, new health secretary Sajid Javid said on Monday he wanted to get life back to normal “as soon as possible” and vowed there will be “no going back” once restrictions are finally ripped up in four weeks.
A total of 23 Covid-19 deaths were recorded yesterday, down from 27 last Tuesday.
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