Covid Scotland: Half of 16 and 17-year-olds given vaccine before school return

Half of Scotland’s 16 and 17 year olds have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to figures from Public Health Scotland.

It comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended the jag be given to all 16 and 17 year olds in the UK.

The vaccine had previously only been advised for vulnerable under 18s. This is still the case for those aged 12 to 15.

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As of Wednesday, the day many pupils returned to school across Scotland, some 55,685 16 and 17 year olds had been given a first dose of vaccine.

Picture: PA MediaPicture: PA Media
Picture: PA Media

This is an increase of almost 27,000, or a quarter of the children in that age group, in the ten days since mass rollout of the vaccine to this age group began.

Around a quarter of 16 and 17 year olds had already been given a first dose prior to the change in JCVI advice.

Teenagers in this age group who are not particularly vulnerable will only receive one dose of vaccine until further notice.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has previously urged teenagers to take up the offer of a vaccine.

Dr Mairi Stark, Scotland Officer for the college, said while teenagers are not at as much risk of sever Covid symptoms as adults, they face more risk than younger children.

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"The older you are the more likely to have symptoms from Covid, so 16 and 17 year olds are more likely to have symptoms than eight or nine year olds,” she said.

“The more people that are vaccinated, the better in the country because it reduces the spread.”

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Dr Stark added that from the teenagers perspective, “the biggest thing for them is to protect their ability to go to school and get on with their lives.”

While it is too soon to make comparisons, Dr Stark suggested this “can-do” age group may present fewer issues with vaccine take up than young adults.

Vaccine takeup has so far been lower in younger age groups, with 74 per cent of 18 to 29 year olds having been given a first dose, compared to more than 96 per cent of each age group over 50.

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