Over half of 16 to 17-year-olds have Covid jab

More than half of 16 to 17-year-olds in South Tyneside have received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, new figures reveal.
A Covid jabA Covid jab
A Covid jab

The data emerged as pupils return to school after the summer holidays, amid a warning over a potential rise in cases and, while a mass-testing policy has been introduced to tackle outbreaks in schools, the Government is also calling on those eligible to get a Covid jab.

Public Health England data shows 1,769 people aged 16 and 17 in South Tyneside had received a jab by September 4 – 54% of the age group and higher than the 49% average in England.

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Those aged 16 and 17 became eligible for a vaccine last month.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT school leaders’ union, said schools had worked hard to ensure a safe environment for the return of pupils, but poor guidance remained an issue.

The Association of School and College Leaders said though the Government no longer advised the use of face coverings for pupils, schools could still make their own decisions on the matter.

Geoff Barton, general secretary, said: “A certain degree of caution is hardly surprising given the bitter experience of the past 18 months.

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The Department for Education said contingency measures were in place if schools were to see an increase in cases.

A spokesman said: "Schools have clear guidance on how to maintain good ventilation and the 300,000 carbon dioxide monitors we are providing – backed by £25m – will begin rolling out from this week, giving schools another tool in their arsenal to keep the virus out of classrooms."