County leaders delighted at teens' take-up of Covid jabs
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More than 70% of 16-18 year olds in Suffolk have had a Covid-19 vaccination - and thousands of younger teenagers will be jabbed by the October half-term.
Latest data presented to Suffolk’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board showed nearly three-quarters of 16, 17 and 18 year olds had received a single dose of the Pfizer jab, while the programme of 12-15-year-olds has now started.
Around 7% of that age category has already been jabbed in just the first week of vaccines being offered.
Melanie Craig, chief officer with Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Groups, told the meeting of council, police and health leaders: “We are really pleased with how this next stage of the programme is going.
“I want to call out both Suffolk and North East Essex and Norfolk and Waveney systems which are the top two systems in the East of England by a considerable stretch, so we are really pleased.
“We are really pleased with the uptake of the 16-17 year olds with over 70%, and as it is one dose that is really strong progress.
“For the 12-15s, we have only been vaccinating for a week but we have already managed to get to just over 7% of 12-15 year olds, and that is just one dose of Pfizer.”
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She added: “I know at the beginning as we progressed through the programme people were curious about whether the younger cohorts would indeed come forward, but in our areas of the country we are seeing really strong uptake.”
Health chiefs said that the schools immunisation service, commissioned through NHS England, were working with schools on the 12-15 programme.
Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of Suffolk’s CCGs highlighted ongoing work with schools, colleges and the University of Suffolk, which aimed to “keep that number rising”. Healthwatch Suffolk and the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) have also been involved in supporting those in BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities.
Public Health Suffolk director Stuart Keeble said the vaccine programme in those age groups will help schools operate as normally as possible, as more than half of all new Covid cases circulated among the 0-19-year-olds.