At least half of 16 to 17-year-olds in three nations of UK have had first jab

Almost two-thirds of 16 and 17-year-olds in Wales have had a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while half of this age group in England and Scotland have been jabbed.

The figure is 40% in Northern Ireland.

Uptake has been “strong”, according to England’s top GP, who urged everyone who is eligible to get themselves vaccinated.

It comes as pupils head back to schools and colleges amid uncertainty around how the new term might affect the spread of the virus.

In Scotland, a recent rise in cases is thought to be partly attributable to the reopening of schools for the new academic year last month.

NHS England said more than 620,000 young people aged 16 and 17 have now been jabbed, less than a month after becoming eligible.

In Wales, 63% of the age group have had one jab, while in Scotland the figure is 51%.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised on August 4 that all 16 and 17-year-olds should be given a first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and deputy lead for NHS England’s vaccination programme, said: “Uptake among young people continues to be strong and thanks to the non-stop efforts of NHS staff and volunteers, half of all 16 and 17-year-olds have had their vaccine since becoming eligible last month, giving them the best possible protection against coronavirus.

“As school and college terms are due to start back shortly, it is really important that young people continue to come forward for their life-saving vaccine and visit the NHS grab-a-jab finder to find a convenient site, with walk-in vaccinations taking place at nightclubs, university campuses and places of worship this weekend.

“It has never been easier to drop in and get your vaccine: it is safe, effective and will provide vital protection for you and your family and friends.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Local NHS teams and volunteers will be administering jabs at sites including the G-A-Y nightclub in London, the Hindu Temple in Crawley and the University of Kent’s Canterbury Campus this weekend.

When the JCVI announced its recommendation to extend the vaccine rollout to 16 and 17-year-olds, it said it would make further recommendations at a later stage on when youngsters should get their second dose.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It is fantastic to see the enthusiasm of young people to get the jab and great news that more than half of 16 to 17s in England are now vaccinated with a first dose as they return to colleges and sixth-forms.

“Thank-you for playing your part in helping us live safely with this virus so we can continue to enjoy the freedoms we missed like seeing friends and family.”