MP challenges Government to give coronavirus jabs to schoolchildren in Christmas holidays

A Wigan MP has called for a Christmas jabs guarantee for schoolchildren.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 9:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 10:11 am

Yvonne Fovargue, who represents the Makerfield constituency, has challenged the Government to offer every 12 to 15 year old a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the Christmas holidays, as it was revealed just 43 per cent of youngsters in Wigan have had a jab.

Nationally, less than half (45 per cent) of children aged 12 to 15 have received their first vaccination and the weekly number of jabs given to schoolchildren has dropped 80 per cent since half-term.

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Yvonne Fovargue MP

The latest statistics reveal 235,000 state school pupils were absent from school due to Covid-19 on December 9, up 13 per cent in the last fortnight.

There have been at least two confirmed omicron variant outbreaks in primary schools in England, with one pupil at Worsley Mesnes Primary School among dozens of people confirmed to have the variant in Wigan.

Ms Fovargue is calling for children to have access to walk-in clinics during the school holidays and a proactive campaign to promote vaccinations to parents, including addressing issues raised by those opposed to vaccinations.

Labour has also urged ministers to provide clarity for parents on the approval of the vaccine for those aged 12 and under.

Ms Fovargue said: “With omicron cases on the rise, the Government must use the Christmas holidays to vaccinate as many children as possible in the borough and prevent potential school chaos next term.

“Local authorities, staff and parents in our community are doing their best under difficult circumstances, but the vaccine roll-out is slowing and Covid-related school absences are rising.

“Ministers must urgently adopt Labour’s vaccine guarantee to help keep our kids in class in the new year.”

The NHS says all children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a first dose of the coronavirus vaccination, either through schools, walk-in clinics or by booking online.

A second dose will be offered to those at high risk, such as if they have a condition which means they could get seriously ill from Covid-19 or if they live with someone who is more likely to get infections.

A third dose is available to children with a weakened immune system.

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