United Kingdom

Covid UK: Kirstie Allsopp slams plans to vaccinate children ahead of the vulnerable overseas

Kirstie Allsopp has claimed vaccinating children against Covid-19 while millions of people across the world are at greater risk is the 'pinnacle of western overconsumption'. 

The Location, Location, Location host, 49, from London, made her case on Twitter, arguing the idea of not putting the 'most vulnerable' people first is 'disgusting'.

It comes after reports claimed children as young as 12 will get their coronavirus vaccines from September as the government tries to avoid a third wave. 'Core planning' documents were leaked showing school kids will be given one dose when they go back to class after the summer.

This week Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the largest union for secondary school heads, said education leaders would be willing to help facilitate a vaccine roll-out at schools around the country. 

Meanwhile India is suffering the world's worst second wave of Covid with another 412,262 cases reported today and 3,980 new deaths - both record figures - with medical experts suggesting the country's actual figures could be five to 10 times the official tallies. 

Kirstie Allsopp has claimed vaccinating children against Covid-19 while millions of people across the world are at greater risk is the 'pinnacle of western overconsumption' 

Children are less likely than the elderly to be severely impacted by the virus but can pass it on to those who are. 

Yesterday mother-of-two Kirstie tweeted: 'The idea of vaccinating children in the UK while so many around the world are at risk, unlike our kids or indeed our adult kids or younger siblings, is somewhat disgusting. It's the pinnacle of Western overconsumption.'

She later added: 'Society is about putting the most vulnerable first. We’re vaccinated, where’s the data that says children will benefit? What happened to putting them before us?'

He tweet sparked a debate on Twitter, with many agreeing with her argument. One user commented: 'All along we've been told that children are very low risk. We've also been told that the vaccine won't stop us spreading Covid, therefore, the idea is utterly ridiculous.'

The Location, Location, Location host, 49, from London, made her case on Twitter , arguing the idea of not putting the 'most vulnerable' people first is 'disgusting'

Another responded: 'Given we are now officially beyond herd immunity, I am yet to see any strong evidence why any child needs this. It strikes as me peculiar that the dominant narrative seems rooted in an assumption, rather than an analysis.'

And one tweeted: 'Rushing to vaccinate our low-risk, low-spread children with an emergency use mRNA vaccine that hasn’t been time tested is a mistake. At this point, we need to prioritize and maximize the vaccination of adults.' 

But some suggested that vaccinating children against Covid will help stem the spread of the virus; one tweeted: 'Children would catch and spread Covid to the vulnerable, that's the point. It's not just about children benefitting, it's about preventing them from endangering others, for example grandparents who will be back doing unpaid childcare once we're all back in the workplace.'

Another wrote: 'I normally agree with your tweets @KirstieMAllsopp but Britain has an opportunity to get transmission to a very low level by vaccinating as much if the population as possible. This will benefit all our vulnerable people, build confidence and get our economy back on track.'

And one remarked: 'Why not vaccinate the kids if it's safe and you have the vaccine? Is it their fault other countries don’t have the vaccine. I think not,' while another tweeted: 'Maybe not all children but there is a group of particularly venerable children, my son included, for whom COVID could be fatal.' 

Some scientists have argued that if Covid rates rose significantly, it would become a priority to vaccinate children to prevent further disruption or closures of schools, however others have suggested it might not be necessary if there is a high take-up of the vaccine among young adults and a low virus rate by autumn. 

According to reports, health officials are drawing up plans to offer the Pfizer vaccine to children aged 12 and over from September. 

Mr Barton told the Telegraph that mass vaccinations among children could help spell the end of the 'system of controls' currently in place in schools across the country, which include social distancing, bubbles and face masks in the classroom.

He added that 'peer pressure' of seeing friends getting the jab is likely to make the overall numbers taking up the vaccine higher. 

Last month a source told The Sun that plans are in place to vaccinate children aged 12 upwards, and senior government officials have been briefed.

Almost 85% of secondary schools in England had NO covid cases after they opened

Almost nine in 10 secondary schools in England had no coronavirus cases after they reopened, official figures suggest.

Surveillance data showed only nine of 80 schools surveyed had spotted one infected pupil or staff member in the fortnight ending March 31. Four saw at least two cases, according to the Office for National Statistics report.

Almost 10,000 secondary teachers and pupils were swabbed for the study, which is carried out regularly to track the spread of the disease in schools.

Just 0.34 per cent of pupils tested positive — compared to 1.2 per cent in December, when Covid was spreading rapidly in the community. Only one in every 500 teachers were infected in the last round of testing, down from one in 60 before Christmas.

Public Health England bosses said the data was 'reassuring'.

It comes after teaching unions warned Number 10's 'big bang' reopening of schools on March 8 — the first step in the ultra-cautious roadmap back to normality — was 'madness' and risked an explosion in cases.

Unions called for year groups to be sent back in phased stages, claiming the mass return could put teachers at risk from the virus.

The ONS report, carried out alongside experts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and PHE, tested 7,156 pupils and 2,645 secondary staff members between March 15 and 31. 

'Though controversial, it is deemed necessary to stop the UK regressing in its remarkable fight against Covid,' they said.

Health officials are also said to be looking into jabbing children as young as five from July in a 'worst case scenario'.

The leaked report shows the government's contingency plan if the roadmap out of lockdown this summer leads to a surge in variants.

The Department of Health said no decision has been taken, adding: 'We will be guided by experts once clinical trials have concluded.' 

The first Covid vaccine for children could be approved next month, according to the chief scientist behind it.   

Pfizer has developed a modified dose of the vaccine for approval for young people aged 12 and over in the US, and has also applied to the UK's MHRA medicines regulator to lower the age threshold to 12 from 16.

There are also reportedly plans for Britons over 50 to be given booster jabs in the autumn amid fears of Covid variants sweeping Europe. 

Scientists say they are increasingly convinced that India's mutant strain is playing a leading role in the second wave of infections, as it appears to be out-competing the UK variant and is therefore likely to be more infectious.

The surge in infections has also coincided with a dramatic drop in vaccinations because of supply and delivery problems, despite India being a major vaccine producer.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has called for 'urgent' international action to prevent 'a worsening human catastrophe' across South Asia.

It highlighted the case of Nepal, where it said 'many hospitals are full and overflowing' with Covid-19 patients and the daily caseload is 57 times higher than one month ago.

Yesterday it emerged the Biden administration is throwing its support behind efforts to waive intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines in an effort to speed the end of the pandemic.

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the government's position in a Wednesday statement, amid World Trade Organisation talks over easing global trade rules to enable more countries to produce more of the life-saving vaccines. 

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