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Covid warning as schools return and parents return to work in ‘key month’ for virus UK News

Parents who return to work after summer vacation and mix in other settings are a risk that comes with students returning to class next month, an expert has warned.

September will be a key month for monitoring Covid-19 data, according to Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modeling (Spi-M) which advises the government.

Speaking to Times Radio in his personal capacity on Saturday, he argued that vaccinating younger age groups could provide protection against coronaviruses beyond the school environment.

READ MORE:New study shows Delta Covid variant doubles risk of hospital treatment

He said: “When schools reopen, it will cause more children to mingle in closed environments.

“We have to remember (…) when we talk about the return of schools, it is not really the risk around schools. Schools are not riskier than any other environment where people mingle nearby. others.

“But that’s what happens around schools – when schools come back, parents tend to go back to work and people mingle in other environments.

“So it’s that kind of protection that if we have high levels of immunization in the younger age groups, it should provide that protection both directly and indirectly in those settings.”

His comments come as the NHS prepares to ensure it is ready to potentially offer Covid-19 vaccines to every 12 to 15 year olds in England from early September, reports The Mirror.

A decision has not yet been made on the administration of vaccines to this age group and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has not yet given its opinion on the expansion of the deployment.

Children are expected to return to school in the coming weeks, raising concerns over the spread of the virus
Children are expected to return to school in the coming weeks, raising concerns over the spread of the virus

Experts have previously warned that it is “very likely” that there will be significant levels of coronavirus infection in schools by the end of September.

The advisers asked the government to plan for this outcome and said it remained uncertain whether the high prevalence could be due to the virus spreading in schools or in the community.

Dr Tildesley said it “remains to be seen” how things might change when people start to mix more in the fall.

He told Times Radio: “I think the main thing for me is actually what’s going to happen next month.

“Kids are going back to school, people are coming back from their summer vacation and I think monitoring what that does to the data – not just cases, but monitoring hospitalizations and deaths very carefully – will really dictate what will happen in the fall.

A presentation in the meeting room
Many parents will return to work after the school holidays

“We’re in a pretty different place from where we were 12 months ago. Obviously we have the Delta variant which is more transmissible, we have a pretty high prevalence, a lot of cases, but of course on the other side. , we have a very good and effective vaccination campaign.

“So I think it remains to be seen how they’re going to trade against each other and what that will do when September rolls around and people start to mingle a bit more.”

Vaccinating young children against Covid-19 could help protect them against long-term Covid as well as offer indirect protection to elderly or vulnerable parents, he added.

He said: “A younger person, if they contract Covid, most of these people are very unlikely to develop severe symptoms.

“But of course we have to remember that the younger you are, you don’t just take the vaccine for yourself, you take it for, potentially, indirect protection for your older and more vulnerable loved ones.

“And then, of course, there’s this problem that some commentators are talking about, which is the potential for long Covid, and which maybe protects the younger ones if they are vaccinated.

“All of these things need to be weighed. Because these are children, there are a lot of ethical issues about it.

“So that’s why it took a little while for JCVI to make this recommendation on which the government can then make a decision.”

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