Most Covid cases in schoolchildren as Central Bedfordshire Councillor stresses the importance of vaccination to contain outbreaks

Continued wearing of face coverings in crowded spaces, regular testing, hygiene and social distancing is still vitally important

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 11:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 11:36 am

New cases of Covid-19 in Central Bedfordshire have risen again with rates high among most age groups, a meeting heard.

Precautions are still essential along with the vaccination programme, according to BLMK Clinical Commissioning Group and local authority public health staff.

And their message to residents remains get vaccinated to continue to help contain more widespread outbreaks, Central Bedfordshire Council' s social care, health and housing overview and scrutiny committee was told yesterday (November 22).

"Vaccination remains one of our main defence mechanisms, with a particular focus on eligible under 18s."

Conservative Sandy councillor Tracey Stock warned the meeting: "Covid cases remain high. Overall rates were 500 cases per 100,000 for last week.

"The age cohorts most affected were five- to ten-year-olds followed closely by the 11- to 15-year-olds, so still the school age children. More than 30 schools have been hit by outbreak threshold.

"They're provided with extra support if requested, although all schools have been advised to take measures to reduce transmission. So it's wearing masks in busy areas and social distancing where possible.

"Vaccination remains one of our main defence mechanisms, with a particular focus on eligible under 18s. This is to protect education and minimise onward transmission to other households, particularly their families.

"We've seen an increase in that 39 to 60 age group as well because of household transmissions," she explained.

"The vaccinations are critical as immunity wanes. Rates are good in the over 75s, with over 90 per cent take-up.

"It's much lower in the other eligible cohorts. As of mid-November only just half of 65- to 69-year-olds had received their booster.

"Vaccine alone isn't sufficient. Continued wearing of face coverings in crowded spaces, regular testing, hygiene and social distancing is still so important.

"The primary focus of the vaccination programme has shifted towards booster doses. The evergreen offer will still be in place for anyone yet to receive a first dose. That's going to continue," added councillor Stock, who's the executive member for health, wellbeing and communities.

"There's no end for the first dose for any reason and then to provide a second dose for all those who've received their first doses.

"Overall half of 12- to 17-year-olds have received their first dose. The uptake is higher in the older cohort of the 16- and 17-year-olds, but that programme did start first.

"All of the children's cohorts for the first vaccine can be booked via the national booking system alongside the schools programme as well for the 12- to 15-year-olds."

CBC said there were six deaths from Covid in the latest reporting week.

Conservative Dunstable Central councillor Carole Hegley referred to compulsory vaccinations, saying: "There was some concern nationally about the impact it was going to have on care staff in the system. I was pleased to see that's being managed very well within this council."