Schools could become ‘reservoirs for Covid once all adults vaccinated’, warns scientist

Schools could become ‘reservoirs for Covid once all adults vaccinated’, warns scientist

 

Schools could become “reservoirs” for Covid-19 cases as adults get vaccinated, a leading virologist has warned.

Julian Tang, a professor of respiratory sciences from Leicester University, says as more over-18s get jabbed the virus will be concentrated in those left unvaccinated in younger age groups.

This would reportedly result in schools becoming reservoirs which could drive a spike in cases of the variant first detected in India, now codenamed Delta, as well as new variants arising.

While children get less ill with Covid-19 they can still spread the virus and Delta is far more transmissible than the original strain.

Delta cases have risen by 79% in one week and now account for 99% of all infections, overtaking the previously dominant Kent variant weeks ago.

But some scientists are optimistic the success of the vaccine programme will drive down hospitalisations.

But Mr Tang said current data suggests the vast majority of cases are in under 30s who have not been vaccinated, The Guardian reports.

He said: “The predominance of the Delta variant over the previous Alpha variant now confirms an increased transmissibility over this earlier variant – and a much higher transmissibility over the original virus.”

From Friday all over-18s were invited to book their vaccine and the system was hit by a surge in demand, with football stadiums turned into jab hubs to help the effort.

The only solution would be to vaccinate younger age groups, something that has so far proved unpopular with world leaders as some countries struggle for vaccine supply.

International trade secretary Liz Truss has said it is her understanding the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation would not be recommending under-18s get vaccinated.

A rise in Delta cases was the reason Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back June 21’s so-called “Freedom Day”, meaning the final stage of his “road map” out of lockdown will now happen four weeks later than scheduled on July 19.

The latest figures show cases are currently rises at between 3% and 6% every day and by more in badly hit areas.

While there have been more than 75,000 cases of Delta recorded so far to date PHE has only recorded 73 deaths, 34 of unvaccinated individuals, 11 of people who had one dose and 26 of people with two.

Only 7.7% of cases were occurring in individuals with both doses of a vaccine.

Research also suggests one dose of the vaccine provides 75% protection against hospital admissions for Delta, while two provide 94% protection.

The latest figures released yesterday showed 10,321 people had tested positive in 24 hours, up 2,583 week-on-week.

There were 14 death, up two on the previous Saturday, and hospital admissions stood at 1,316, up 233.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) puts the latest R number for England at between 1.2 and 1.4, meaning every 100 infections would pass the virus on to between 120 and 140 people.

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