Coronavirus latest news: Children should not be vaccinated just to protect others, says Sage member

·19 min read
Pupils queue for a socially distanced assembly at a school in in Manchester - Jon Super/AP
Pupils queue for a socially distanced assembly at a school in in Manchester - Jon Super/AP

Children should not be vaccinated just to protect others, a Sage member has said.

Professor Calum Semple, speaking in a personal capacity, agreed that we shouldn't be giving a vaccine to a child in order to protect his or her grandparents because the risk of death among children is one in a million.

He told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: "We're talking about vaccinating children here mainly to protect public health and reduce transmission, and it's accepted that teenagers for biologically more like adults are more likely to transmit. But the younger children really are not, they're about a half to a third as likely to acquire the virus. And similarly to pass it on. So we're now coming into really interesting ethical and moral debate here about vaccinating children for the benefit of others."

While Cabinet minister Lizz Truss said it was her understanding the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) was not recommending offering Covid-19 jabs to under-18s, Prof Semple said spare vaccines should be sent to countries who do not have enough doses.

The scientist added: "The virus is spreading in schools, because it's got nowhere else to hide at the moment...I'm veering on the not vaccinating children, only because of the ethical issues, and the need to get the vaccine into the older people."

​​Follow the latest updates below.

08:05 AM

Arrest after BBC journalist confronted by protesters

A 57-year-old man has been charged after a journalist was confronted and chased by protesters near Downing Street.

Martin Hockridge is accused of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards another person with the intention to cause them harassment, alarm or distress.

It comes after footage shared on social media showed demonstrators shouting abuse in the face of Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt.

Mr Watt, who was wearing a BBC lanyard, was forced to run through the mob beyond a line of police officers as people shouted "Traitor" and other slurs at him near Downing Street on Monday.

The Metropolitan Police said they have begun reviewing the footage and identified a number of possible offences and launched an investigation.

Crowds had gathered in Westminster to protest against the Government's extension of coronavirus restrictions in England by four weeks.

07:18 AM

Care group chair fears legal action for unfair dismissal over mandatory vaccines

Mike Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group (ICG), which represents care homes in Yorkshire, has said he fears people will be put off entering the social care sector if vaccinations become mandatory for workers.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's not unexpected, I'm disappointed because I think persuasion is the way forward still because those taking the vaccination has gone up but I also say that I do believe people should be vaccinated, every member of staff should take up the vaccine.

"But I just think persuasion rather than coercion or compulsion is the way we have to deal with it.

"The Government could make more effort to encourage workers to take up the vaccine, I think from a social media campaign and actually giving us more time because we can achieve it.

"What I'm worried about is the recruitment crisis already in social care, is that we're frightened that this is going to put more people off coming into social care and that's going to be difficult.

"I'm also worried about any legal action against providers, because if you've only got 16 weeks and you lose your job where does that put people? We're already short of staff."

07:17 AM

JCVI not recommending vaccines to children, minister says

Cabinet minister Liz Truss said the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) was not recommending offering Covid-19 jabs to under-18s.

The International Trade Secretary told BBC Breakfast: "Of course the Government will look very closely at the JCVI's recommendations.

"It is my understanding that they are not recommending the vaccination of under-18s and we will be saying more in due course about that."

07:16 AM

Mandatory vaccination decision 'very imminent'

Cabinet minister Liz Truss said the Government's decision on mandatory vaccination for care home staff was "very imminent".

Ministers will announce the move in the coming days, the PA news agency has been told, after a consultation was carried out into using staff vaccination in England to protect the most vulnerable from Covid-19.

The International Trade Secretary told BBC Breakfast: "We need to make sure we get the balance right but I'm sure people appreciate that protecting lives is the absolute priority."

Asked when the response to the consultation would be published, she said: "I think it's very imminent."

07:13 AM

Vaccines set to be made compulsory for NHS and care home workers

Covid-19 vaccinations will be made compulsory for NHS and care home workers, ministers are preparing to announce.

Under the plans, staff working with adults will be given 16 weeks to get vaccinated or face losing their jobs.

It comes as the Government opens a consultation on Thursday into the proposal as a measure to protect the most vulnerable from contracting Covid-19.

According to the latest uptake figures, 16 per cent of care home workers and one in 10 - or 151,000 - NHS workers have yet to receive the vaccine. Health and care workers were among the first to be offered the vaccine.

07:12 AM

Unvaccinated care home workers could be deployed elsewhere

Care home workers could be deployed elsewhere if they are not vaccinated in 16 weeks, which would be "really challenging" for the sector, the chief executive of the National Care Forum has said.

Vic Rayner told BBC Breakfast: "If there is this 16-week window then that really is a very short period of time for people to make the kind of changes that are needed.

"I think there's a couple of important points in here, so the consultation itself was on vaccination as a condition of deployment rather than employment and I think that's really important to understand.

"Because one of the things I think the consultation, when it comes out, will say - that staff need to be deployed in jobs if they're not vaccinated away from people who are vulnerable older people, people in care homes.

"Clearly if you work in a care home there isn't anywhere else for you to go that isn't involved in working with those individuals so I think the consultation will suggest for people who are unwilling to be vaccinated or don't wish to be vaccinated that they should be deployed somewhere else.

"That's really challenging for a sector that's largely made up of small employers and don't really have anywhere else for people to go, so we need to be really clear that this is potentially about people no longer being able to work in the sector, and that's probably one of the primary concerns."

06:46 AM

'Reason we are taking these measures is to protect lives and that's what's important'

Liz Truss was questioned about Cabinet colleague Jacob Rees-Mogg's assertion that "you can't run society just to stop the hospitals being full" in a criticism of lockdown policy.

The Commons Leader told his ConservativeHome podcast: "Ultimately, the NHS is there to serve the British people, not the British people there to serve the NHS, and therefore we may need to spend more money on hospitals but you can't run society just to stop the hospitals being full, otherwise you'd never let us get in our cars and drive anywhere or do any of the other things that people want to do, so there has to be some proportionality."

International Trade Secretary Ms Truss told Sky News: "We are taking a pragmatic approach. The key is making sure that everybody gets vaccinated - by July 19 we will have all over-40s vaccinated so we are protected as a society.

"That's what we need to do in order to be able to fully open up the economy."

She added: "Jacob has his views and those are his views. But what I'm telling you is the reason we are doing this, the reason we are taking these measures is to protect lives and that's what's important."

06:35 AM

'Incredibly important' care home staff are vaccinated, says minister

Cabinet minister Liz Truss said it was "incredibly important" for care home staff to be vaccinated but would not confirm the Government has decided to make it mandatory.

"We are currently consulting on this issue. What we do know is that it's incredibly important that staff in care homes are vaccinated," she told Sky News.

"We have got a hugely vulnerable population in our care homes and making sure that staff are vaccinated is a priority."

Asked what her position would be if she had a parent in a home, Ms Truss said: "I would want the staff to be vaccinated, of course I would, because I would want my parent to be protected."

Pressed on whether NHS staff should also be vaccinated, she said: "I think everybody who has the opportunity to have a vaccine should have that vaccine."

06:25 AM

Over-21s in England can book their vaccine

Over-21s in England can now book their Covid-19 vaccine.

The NHS National Booking Service has opened up to 21 and 22-year-olds for the first time.

On Tuesday the head of the health service said that it was expected that vaccination appointments would be opened up to all adults by the end of the week.

06:24 AM

Today's front page

Here is your Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, June 16.

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05:56 AM

India reopens Taj Mahal to limited online bookings

India is reopening its famed marvel of love, the Taj Mahal, and several other monuments as the number of new coronavirus infections continues to decline.

District Magistrate Prabhu Narain Singh said 650 tourists with online bookings will be allowed a day to visit the white marble site from Wednesday. Temperatures will be checked at the gates, face masks must be worn and social distancing norms must be observed.

The monument was closed in April amid a surge of new infections in India.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 62,224 new infections in the past 24 hours, which is down from a peak of more than 400,000 new infections a day in April.

Soldier patrol the ground at the Taj Mahal after it reopened to visitors following authorities easing Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions in Agra on June 16, 2021 - AFP
Soldier patrol the ground at the Taj Mahal after it reopened to visitors following authorities easing Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions in Agra on June 16, 2021 - AFP

05:38 AM

China triples daily doses but vaccine rollout uneven

China has tripled its daily Covid-19 vaccine rollout in June, inoculating 44 percent of its population with at least one dose, but its health experts warn against a quick border reopening, citing an uneven rollout and the low rate of full vaccinations.

China rolled out 17.3 million doses per day in June on average, up sharply from 4.8 million in April, as it expanded the list of approved vaccines to seven by adding three more locally-developed shots, and continued to boost production.

But the rollout has been uneven. By the first week of June, major cities of Beijing and Shanghai fully inoculated nearly 70 percent and 50 percent of their residents respectively, but the rate in Guangdong and Shandong provinces remained below 20 percent.

Residents wait to receive their second doses of COVID-19 vaccines at a vaccination site on June 15, 2021 in Foshan, Guangdong Province of China - Getty Images
Residents wait to receive their second doses of COVID-19 vaccines at a vaccination site on June 15, 2021 in Foshan, Guangdong Province of China - Getty Images

05:12 AM

Tories likely to rebel against extension to Covid restrictions

Boris Johnson faces the prospect of a Tory rebellion when MPs are asked to approve the extension of coronavirus restrictions in England until July 19.

The House of Commons will vote on Wednesday evening on the four-week delay to the end of lockdown measures, aimed at buying more time for the vaccine programme.

Labour has signalled it will back the extension so the Prime Minister should be spared a defeat, but Conservative lockdown sceptics are likely to express their anger during a debate.

Scientific advisers have said the delay is necessary to prevent a fresh spike in hospital admissions due to the rapidly spreading Delta variant first identified in India.

In this handout photo provided by UK Parliament, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons, 
In this handout photo provided by UK Parliament, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons,

04:39 AM

Melbourne residents allowed to leave city despite outbreak

Australia's second largest city will allow its five million residents to travel more than 25 km (15 miles) from home and end mandatory masks wearing outdoors from Friday, despite the city fighting a stubborn Covid-19 outbreak.

Melbourne exited a two-week hard lockdown late last week, its fourth since the pandemic began, after an outbreak that has seen about 100 cases since May 24.

"Victoria is at its best when we are all together ... the state will come back together from tomorrow night", Victoria Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters on Wednesday.

Although cases linked to a fresh cluster in a residential townhouse complex rose slightly on Wednesday, Melbourne will gradually ease restrictions.

A woman walks her dog in Melbourne on June 11, 2021, as the city eases restrictions after a two-week lockdown following a surge in Covid-19 figures. - AFP
A woman walks her dog in Melbourne on June 11, 2021, as the city eases restrictions after a two-week lockdown following a surge in Covid-19 figures. - AFP

04:06 AM

Italy warned of 'social tsunami' as layoff freeze set to end

Trade unions warn of a "social tsunami" and left-wing parties of a "massacre for employment" as the imminent end to Italy's coronavirus freeze on layoffs causes tensions in Mario Draghi's national unity government.

Supporters say the freeze, which is unique in Europe, saved thousands of jobs after the pandemic plunged Italy into deep recession - but the European Union has been disparaging, and employers are angling for its end.

Companies were first banned from sacking workers under former premier Giuseppe Conte in February 2020, when a wave of Covid-19 sparked Europe's first nationwide lockdown in Italy. The measure was later extended.

When Mr Draghi took office in February this year, he said the government "should protect workers... but it would be a mistake to protect all economic activities equally", saying there must be a "choice".
Read more: Mario Draghi ushers in the counter-revolution but he can’t save Italy

Disney Store employees protest in the Piazza Montecitorio against the closure of stores in Italy, in Rome, Italy, 29 May 2021. - Shutterstock
Disney Store employees protest in the Piazza Montecitorio against the closure of stores in Italy, in Rome, Italy, 29 May 2021. - Shutterstock

03:37 AM

Brazil to buy 60 million doses of Chinese vaccine

Brazil plans to buy 60 million doses of the single-shot Covid-19 vaccine developed by China's CanSino Biologics for delivery in the third and fourth quarters of this year, according to a negotiation document reviewed by Reuters.

A ministry official signed a letter of intent on June 4 to buy the doses with a Brazilian pharmaceutical company that represents CanSino in Brazil, Belcher Farmaceutica do Brasil, the document said.

The vaccine, trade-named Convidecia and developed by CanSino together with a research institute linked to the Chinese military, will cost $17 per dose, it said.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga told a Senate commission investigating the handling of the pandemic in Brazil last week that the government is seeking to buy new vaccines to diversify its supply. He cited possible acquisition of the CanSino shot.

A nurse prepare a dose of the Chinese CanSino vaccine against COVID-19 in Santiago on June 3, 2021. - AFP
A nurse prepare a dose of the Chinese CanSino vaccine against COVID-19 in Santiago on June 3, 2021. - AFP

03:07 AM

Artificial antibodies 'reduce death risk for sickest patients'

A coronavirus treatment made of artificial antibodies reduces the risk of death in the sickest Covid-19 patients by a fifth, an Oxford-led trial has found.

Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody cocktail was tested on almost 10,000 people in the UK by Recovery, the biggest study in the world looking for coronavirus treatments.

It revealed that people in hospital with Covid who are unable to make their own antibodies, known as seronegative, benefit significantly from the treatment.

A person can fail to produce antibodies for various reasons, often they are elderly and frail; have pre-existing health conditions such as cancer and leukemia; or are already taking immunosuppressive medication.

Read the full story

A patient is brought into the Royal London hospital in London, Britain, 14 June 2021. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a delay to lockdown easing regulations 14 June. - Shutterstock
A patient is brought into the Royal London hospital in London, Britain, 14 June 2021. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a delay to lockdown easing regulations 14 June. - Shutterstock

02:39 AM

Japan may allow up to 10,000 fans at Olympic events

Japan could allow up to 10,000 fans at sports events ahead of the Olympics, media reported Wednesday, as organisers weigh how many domestic fans can attend the Games.

The measure, intended to come into force after a coronavirus state of emergency ends on June 20, will be discussed by the government's virus taskforce on Wednesday, the Nikkei business daily and Kyodo news agency said.

The plan would limit spectators to 50 percent of a venue's capacity or 10,000 people, whichever is lower.

It could set the boundaries for a decision by Olympic organisers on how many domestic fans, if any, can attend Games events. Overseas spectators have already been banned.

Read more: Doctor warns of new 'Olympic strain' risk if Games go ahead

Workers install additional security fence outside Olympic Stadium (National Stadium) for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease  - Reuters
Workers install additional security fence outside Olympic Stadium (National Stadium) for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease - Reuters

01:55 AM

Doctors 'suffering distress' about quality of care

A significant proportion of doctors in the UK are suffering "distress" because they are unable to give patients the care they would like, leading medics have warned.

The pandemic has exacerbated the feelings of moral distress and moral injury among medics working in the UK, British Medical Association (BMA) said.

Moral distress can be understood as the feeling of unease stemming from being unable to undertake an ethically correct action due to institutional or resource constraints, the BMA said.

Meanwhile, moral injury can arise where sustained moral distress leads to impaired function or longer-term psychological harm.

Doctor Peter John wears personal protective equipement (PPE) as he speaks with Wayne Morris during an appointment at the Woodford medical clinic at Freshney Green Primary Care Centre in Grimsby, Lincolnshire - PA
Doctor Peter John wears personal protective equipement (PPE) as he speaks with Wayne Morris during an appointment at the Woodford medical clinic at Freshney Green Primary Care Centre in Grimsby, Lincolnshire - PA

01:22 AM

US tops 600,000 deaths despite dramatic drop in daily toll

The death toll from Covid-19 in the United States surpassed 600,000 on Tuesday, although its world-leading vaccination program promises to turn the page on one of the worst health crises in American history.

The United States has racked up by far the largest national death toll - ahead of Brazil and India - after a heavily-criticised early response to the pandemic, but has since organised one of the world's most effective immunization drives.

Progress against the coronavirus was underlined as New York announced more than 70 percent of adults had received at least one vaccine dose and the last of the state's restrictions could be lifted.

"There's still too many lives being lost," President Joe Biden said, noting that despite the daily number of dead dropping sharply, the continuing loss of life was still "a real tragedy".

 file photo taken on April 07, 2020 gravestones from Linden Hill Methodist Cemetery are seen with the Manhattan skyline in the background in Brooklyn, New York. - The US death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 600,000 on June 15, 2021, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University,  - AFP
file photo taken on April 07, 2020 gravestones from Linden Hill Methodist Cemetery are seen with the Manhattan skyline in the background in Brooklyn, New York. - The US death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 600,000 on June 15, 2021, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, - AFP

12:49 AM

Care home providers at risk of collapse, MPs warn

Care home providers are at risk of collapse due to the impact of Covid-19 and a lack of a long-term funding plan, MPs have warned.

Many care providers in England are “living hand to mouth” and the Government appears “complacent” about the potential for them to fail, according to the latest report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The coronavirus pandemic had highlighted how "care is not properly funded, lacks transparency and urgently needs reform", it said.

The impact of Covid-19 on the social care sector had put many providers at risk of failing, the report added, with care home occupancy having fallen from around 90 per cent at the start of the pandemic to 80 per cent by Feb 2021.

Read more: Covid death figures for every English care home to be published

File photo dated 09/06/20 a nurse Rebecca, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), changes the dressings on the legs of an elderly woman during a home visit. Workers in care homes and other parts of the sector are being forced to take unpaid leave or survive on statutory sick pay (SSP) if they have to self-isolate or have coronavirus, according to their union - PA
File photo dated 09/06/20 a nurse Rebecca, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), changes the dressings on the legs of an elderly woman during a home visit. Workers in care homes and other parts of the sector are being forced to take unpaid leave or survive on statutory sick pay (SSP) if they have to self-isolate or have coronavirus, according to their union - PA

12:08 AM

Needle phobia treatment 'may reduce vaccine hesitancy'

Treating the fear of needles may reduce Covid vaccine hesitancy, researchers say.

A new study suggests one quarter of the UK adult population screens positive for a potential injection phobia.

Researchers say these people were twice as likely to report being hesitant to getting a Covid-19 vaccine, they would put off getting vaccinated or indeed never get the jab.

But if all injection anxiety in the population was removed then more than 10 percent of instances of vaccine hesitancy might disappear too, the data indicates.

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE Covid-19 vaccine for administration at a vaccination center inside FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Thursday, May 27, 2021. - Bloomberg
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE Covid-19 vaccine for administration at a vaccination center inside FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Thursday, May 27, 2021. - Bloomberg

11:41 PM

Today's top stories

  • Shortages of the Pfizer vaccine have forced the NHS to slow the rollout of jabs despite ministers promising to use the delay to the ending of Covid restrictions to vaccinate as many people as possible.

  • Ministers will be advised against the mass rollout of Covid vaccinations to children until scientists obtain more data on the risks, The Telegraph understands.

  • The Chinese virologist at the centre of a theory that Covid-19 originated in a laboratory in Wuhan has angrily denied the claims as "filth" in a rare interview.

  • Vaccine passports on the NHS app will automatically include a user's "natural immunity" to Covid for six months after contracting the virus without the need for an antibody test under a new trial.

  • Mainland Scotland will not move down to the lowest level of Covid restrictions for at least five weeks, Nicola Sturgeon has disclosed as she delayed once more the easing of lockdown.

  • EasyJet, Britain's biggest budget airline, has moved its planes from the UK to Germany because Europe is opening up to foreign travel faster than the UK.

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