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Covid rates are highest among secondary school pupils


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More secondary school children contracted Covid-19 than any other age group in the week to October 2, Office for National Statistics data suggests.

Around one in 15 pupils in years 7 to 11 are believed to have tested positive - up from one in 20 the previous week and the highest coronavirus rate for any age group, compared with around one in 70 in all other age categories.

Hand sanitiser in class is now a regular feature. Picture: iStock
Hand sanitiser in class is now a regular feature. Picture: iStock

There are more than 16,000 secondary school age pupils across Kent.

Cases had dropped among all school children the second week of returning to class after the summer break.

ONS data examined nose and throat swabs in children aged two to Year 6; Years 7 to 11 and Year 12 to age 24.

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus continues to fluctuate across age groups, with Years 7 to 11, those aged 35 to 49 and the 70+ age group all seeing an increase in the week ending October 2.

Analysts say the trend was uncertain for those aged two to school Year 6; people aged 25 to 34 and those in the 50 to 69 age bracket in the same week.

Classes have been widely disrupted since the start of the pandemic. Picture: iStock
Classes have been widely disrupted since the start of the pandemic. Picture: iStock

However, it was highest in young people at secondary school with 6.93% recording a positive test for Covid-19.

Vaccination is being offered to anyone over the age of 12 and the immunisation programme is being overseen in the county by Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had previously cautioned against the move on health grounds alone because Covid-19 presents such a low risk to younger teenagers, but did suggest wider issues, such as disruption to education, should be taken into consideration.

Chief medical officers subsequently decided a single dose of Pfizer for people in this age group would significantly reduce the chance of a young person getting Covid and passing the virus on.

Kent and Medway CCG says parental consent will always be sought before any child aged 12 to 15 is given the Covid-19 vaccination – in line with NHS rules.

Covid jabs are available to all children aged 12 and above. Picture: PA Media
Covid jabs are available to all children aged 12 and above. Picture: PA Media

No vaccinations will take place without asking for parental consent, though there are exceptional circumstances in which children can request it without a guardian's approval, but these must be assessed by a medical professional.

Parental consent is not required in youngsters aged 16 and over.

In all age bands, Tunbridge Wells currently has the highest Covid-19 rate in the county at 464.9 per 100,000, with Swale the fewest at 112.6 per 100,000. The Kent average is 243.6 and Medway 232.2 compared with a national average of 332.6 registered between September 26 and October 3.

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