A fifth of teenagers now double jabbed in Bedford

Charity says face coverings in schools and vaccines were “polarising” among parents

By Reporter
Friday, 21st January 2022, 12:15 pm

A fifth of teenagers in Bedford have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, figures show.

The UK Government called for teenagers to get their second jab ahead of their return to school after the Christmas break, in an effort to tackle the Omicron wave.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended that 16 to 17-year-olds receive a second dose of the Covid jab in November – extending the advice to those aged 12 to 15 just before Christmas.

2,080 people aged 16 and 17 in Bedford had received two jabs by January 16 – at least 45% of the age group

Figures from the UK coronavirus dashboard show 2,080 people aged 16 and 17 in Bedford had received two jabs by January 16 – at least 45 per cent of the age group.

A further 1,006 12 to 15-year-olds had received two doses of a Covid vaccine by that date, equating to 10 per cent of the age group.

It means 3,086 under 18s in Bedford are double-jabbed – at least 21 per cent of the age group, based on the number of people on the National Immunisation Management Service database.

They are among 8,065 (56 per cent) who had received a first dose by January 16.

John Jolly, chief executive at charity Parentkind, said while measures such as face coverings in schools and vaccines for under 18s were “inevitably polarising” among parents, their research showed the majority wanted their child’s educational experience to return to some form of normality.

He said: “Clearly, a challenge to that will come in reconciling the divide in parents’ views of the best way to achieve this, particularly when it comes to the role of protective measures against the spread of Covid.

“However ministers make decisions on updating their guidance, they must keep in mind the impact on parents and on family life that their policies will have.”

Across England, 52 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds have had at least one dose of the Covid jab, including 9 per cent who have received two.

The rates for 16 and 17-year-olds stood at 66 per cent for a first dose and 45 per cent for second jabs by January 16.

A Government spokesperson said getting children vaccinated was helping to keep schools open for face-to-face lessons.

They added: “The scientific evidence is clear, vaccines are the best way to protect young people and their friends and family from Omicron."

The UK Government has now also opened booster bookings for 16 and 17 year olds, and for clinically vulnerable 12 to 15 years olds.

NHS vaccination programme lead for 12 to 15 year olds, Nick Hulme, said: “The booster has been proven to give substantial levels of protection against Covid-19 and the new Omicron variant, so it is vital that our youngest and most at-risk get their top-up dose of protection as soon as possible.

“I am delighted that we can kick off this stage of the rollout.

“As soon as you receive the invitation from your local NHS team or GP, please do take up the offer and bring your child forward for their all-important protection as soon as you can.”