COVID-19: Labour calls for ‘urgent’ action over fears 12 to 15-year-olds may not get vaccine until February

Labour has called for more capacity to give children COVID vaccines, saying some 12 to 15-year-olds may not get jabbed until February.

Shadow education secretary Kate Green told Sky News the government failed to meet its October half-term target to give that age group in England their first COVID-19 jab and it now could be nearer February half-term.

She told Sky News’ Kay Burley: “We’ve got 1.8 million young people waiting for it now.

“That, of course, means they’re more likely to catch COVID, to become ill, to be out of school and missing learning and time with their friends and teachers.

“We’ve had 200,000 children out of school every week since September so it’s really urgent that the capacity is put in to get these young people vaccinated as swiftly as possible.”

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The Labour MP urged the government to bring back retired clinicians to help children get vaccinated and said community pharmacies and pop-up clinics could help speed up the process by providing parents with more locations.

She added: “What is really urgent about it is we now know young people can’t have the vaccine for 30 days after a positive COVID result so if we don’t get on and vaccinate now, the young people who’ve not been vaccinated, not tested positive, we’re going to build in a huge delay before these young people receive the vaccine.”

Labour calculated it would take until 7 February to get all 12 to 15-year-olds vaccinated by using the average vaccination rates from the past four weeks.

COVID vaccines have been available to that age group in England since 20 September, with the rollout taking place in schools at first.

From 22 October, appointments could be booked online and more than 100 existing vaccination centres opened their doors for that age group.

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