London has achieved the milestone of 10 million jabs administered in the city, but with four million to go, there is still much to do.
As we wrote in these pages yesterday, the capital still lags behind the rest of the country, with fewer than half of the capital’s 33 boroughs having double-jabbed more than 50 per cent of adults, according to the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.
With the vaccine rollout slowing down, we welcome the likely move to offer a Covid-19 vaccination to all 16- and 17-year-olds, following reports that the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation is set to update its advice.
The school holidays may still be in their infancy, but the return to class — and cooler weather — is likely to drive up infection rates. Vaccinating under-18s will reduce infections and put the UK more closely in line with Europe and the United States.
Teenagers are significant vectors for transmission, with the unvaccinated more likely to spread it to vulnerable members of society, such as the elderly or immunocompromised.
Yet getting jabbed is not a solely altruistic act. While younger people are less likely to show symptoms, become hospitalised or die from the virus, they still carry the risk of contracting long Covid. But recent data released by Sage reveals that the double-vaccinated face half the risk of long Covid.
The age bracket of 16 to 17 is crucial, with exams and preparations for university. We know the impact self-isolation has had on academic performance and life chances, so young people stand to benefit hugely from this new stage of the vaccination programme.
The Government should put plans in place to roll out this extension to the programme swiftly and provide parents with the information they need to make an informed decision for their children.