Covid UK news live: Latest updates as vaccines for 12-year-olds under review

Related video: Vaccine To Be Offered To 16 And 17-year-olds

More than a fifth of those admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are aged between 18 and 34, the new head of the NHS in England has said as she urged young people to get a coronavirus vaccination.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said there is “no doubt” that the jabs rollout is having a “major impact” in keeping people out of hospital and saving lives – but patients aged 18-34 made up more than 20 per cent of those admitted to hospital last month, up from close to one in 20 – 5.4 per cent – at the peak of the winter wave in January.

Meanwhile, the JCVI vaccine advisory group has extended vaccines to all 16 and 17-year-olds and said they would keep a further extension of jabs to those aged 12-and-over under review.

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France to offer booster vaccine to vulnerable from September

Emmanuel Macron has said France will start planning for the rollout of third Covid vaccine booster doses for elderly and vulnerable people from September onwards.

Speaking via his Instagram account, the French president said it was likely that additional jabs would be given in the autumn to ensure the population maintained a sufficient level of immunity.

Tom Batchelor5 August 2021 10:30


Ditch expensive PCR tests ‘ripping off’ travellers, Tory MPs tell government

Conservatives MPs have urged Boris Johnson’s government to ditch advice recommending British travellers take the most expensive type of Covid tests, claiming passengers are being “ripped off”.

Airline bosses have also lamented the decision not to ease requirements for PCR tests – which have been condemned as a “£100-a-head tax on flights” by the industry.

Despite relief at the government’s decision to keep Spain on the amber list, there was anger over new advice urging holidaymakers to take the costly PCR tests before coming home from Spain – though it will not be a legal requirement.

Tom Batchelor5 August 2021 10:15


Serco profits jump a third amid Test and Trace contract boost

Outsourcing firm Serco has seen profits leap after it was boosted by Covid-19 Test and Trace contracts and acquisition activity.

The London-listed firm said its operating profit increased by 31 per cent to £116m for the six months to June.

The company, which was one of the suppliers involved in the UK’s Test and Trace programme, also said it will pay an interim dividend of 0.8p per share following the profit boost – the first payout to investors since 2014.

Tom Batchelor5 August 2021 10:00


NHS loses crown as world’s best healthcare system

The NHS has lost its rating as the best healthcare system in the world, an accolade it had held for seven years.

In a survey of healthcare in 11 wealthy countries, the UK has been ranked only in fourth place, dropping down from first in 2017 and 2014.

And it came only ninth in a comparison of healthcare outcomes, which includes early deaths, cancer survival and baby deaths at birth.

The study, by American think tank the Commonwealth Fund, found Norway, the Netherlands and Australia were the top-performing countries overall, ahead of the UK.

Tom Batchelor5 August 2021 09:49


Leading scientists backs NHS Covid app despite ‘pingdemic’

Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M) advising ministers, has backed the NHS Covid app despite criticism over the number of pings sent out.

Dr Tildesley told Sky News: “I know there have been some challenges in terms of particularly at the moment the so-called ‘pingdemic’, but in terms of being able to detect contact, it has been extremely valuable.

“Obviously the challenge with that is that a lot of people are going into isolation and over the last few days the app has been made less sensitive.”

Dr Tildesley said there is a worry that if too many people are pinged, less people may be willing to comply.

However, he added: “The reduction is sensitivity will hopefully guarantee higher levels of compliance.”

Tom Batchelor5 August 2021 09:30


High pressure oxygen treatment for Covid patients meant fewer needing to be ventilated

Treating coronavirus patients with pressurised oxygen masks to help them breathe meant fewer patients ended up in intensive care on a ventilator, new research has found.

During the pandemic waves as tens of thousands of Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital struggling to breathe, doctors used continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks for many patients.

This was used by medics as a way to try and increase the amount of oxygen patients were getting as their virus ravaged lungs struggled. Many Covid-19 patients developed acute respiratory failure.

Now a study funded by the National Institute for Health Research has examined how successful CPAP was compared to standard oxygen therapy and use of high flow oxygen via nasal tubing.

Read more about the treatment here:

Tom Batchelor5 August 2021 09:13


One in five hospitalised with Covid in England are young people

The new head of the NHS in England has warned that Covid is affecting young people worse than ever, with more than a fifth of those now admitted to hospital with the virus are aged between 18 and 34.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said there is “no doubt” that the jabs rollout is having a “major impact” in keeping people out of hospital and saving lives.

But NHS England said patients aged 18-34 made up more than 20 per cent of those admitted to hospital last month, up from close to one in 20 – 5.4 per cent – at the peak of the winter wave in January.

Ms Pritchard, who took up her new role this week, told the BBC that about 1,000 young adults are currently “really unwell” in hospital, adding that the number of them being admitted to hospital is four times higher than the peak last winter.

Tom Batchelor5 August 2021 08:54


‘Matter of time’ before 12-year-olds offered jab, says expert

Dr Peter English, a retired consultant in communicable disease control, and former chair of the BMA public health medicine committee, has said the JCVI appeared to be adopting “an abundance of caution” and queried why they had not gone further, sooner.

He said: “Why they did not recommend vaccinating 12+-year-olds outside risk groups in mid-July, and why it seems they will restrict their recommendation to people aged 16+ today, are questions that remain unanswered to my satisfaction.”

He added that he believes it is “just a matter of time” before jabs are recommended for everyone aged 12 and above.

Tom Batchelor5 August 2021 08:35


Pfizer vaccine to be offered to 16 and 17-year-olds – with a further review for those aged 12+

On Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that 16 and 17-year-olds should be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – the only Covid-19 jab approved for use for people over the age of 12 in the UK.

But officials are not ruling out vaccinations for otherwise healthy 12 to 15-year-olds – though they said they wanted to look at more information first.

At present, children over the age of 12 are only eligible for a vaccine if they have certain medical conditions that put them at risk from Covid-19 or are teenagers who live with people who are immunocompromised.

Read the full report here:

Tom Batchelor5 August 2021 08:20


Millions of Covid vaccines at risk of being discarded

Millions of Covid vaccine doses are at risk of being thrown away every month by poorer countries due to difficulties in administrating jabs, a new study has said.

Researchers are confident that enough supplies will be available by the end of 2021 to inoculate the 3.2 billion people that make up priority populations globally.

However, there is concern that many nations will struggle to roll out their doses due to logistical issues and vaccine hesitancy.

Collectively, the 92 poorest countries in the world will need to increase their “absorptive capacity” – the ability to receive and then administer supplies through their health systems – from 170 million to 410 million doses per month by the end of 2021, according to modelling from the Global Health Security Consortium.

Tom Batchelor5 August 2021 07:56

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