MORE than a quarter of 12 to 15-year-olds in Shropshire have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, new figures show.
The figures have been compiled from data published on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard for upper tier local authorities in England and Scotland.
They confirm 28 per cent of children in that age group in Shropshire have received one jab as of Saturday, October 16.
But they are a long way off top-of-the-table Dumfries and Galloway which 62.9 per cent jabbed, followed by Perth and Kinross (62.6 per cent), Orkney Islands (62.1 per cent) and Aberdeenshire (61.8 per cent).
At the other end of the table is Barking and Dagenham with just 3.5 per cent of 12 to 15-year-old jabbed.
The figures were revealed as headteachers’ unions are called for children in England to be allowed to use walk-in vaccination centres.
School leaders’ unions are concerned that 12- to 15-year-olds in England are missing out on getting the Covid-19 vaccination in school due to a high level of cases amongst the cohort, as well as logistical problems with vaccination teams having insufficient staff to deal with students needing jabs.
Three million pupils aged between 12 and 15 across the UK are eligible to receive a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as part of a rollout that began a month ago.
James Bowen, director of policy for school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Allowing 12-15 year olds to attend walk-in vaccination centres would be a sensible decision.
“Those who want to get the vaccination should be able to do so as quickly as possible.
“We know that the high level of cases among this age group has led to some pupils who want the vaccine not being able to get it in school, either because they are absent on the day or because they have tested positive for Covid-19 within the last 28 days.
“Assuming that this is designed to complement the existing in-school arrangements then it seems the sensible thing to do.
“It remains crucial that the in-school programme is rolled out as quickly as possible. We know that the health teams working in schools are working tirelessly to achieve this, but they need full support from the Government.”
A first dose of vaccine cannot be delivered to someone if they are within four weeks of testing positive for Covid-19, waiting for the results of a coronavirus test, or self-isolating.
Around one in 10 children in England in school years seven to 11 were likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 in the week to October 9, the highest rate for any age group, according to estimates from the Office for National Statistics.
In England, jabs are being carried out in schools by nurses and immunisation teams.
By contrast, in Scotland doses can be received by attending drop-in vaccination centres at GP clinics, pharmacies and community centres.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said they are going to keep the vaccination programme for 12- to 15-year-olds “under review” as he said it was “at a scale and pace which is unusual”.