Moneycontrol PRO
you are here: HomeNewsWorld

COVID-19 rise seen among school-age children in England

School-going children may be bringing home COVID-19, the UK study suggests.

October 14, 2021 / 09:36 AM IST
A public health information message displayed in London (Image: Reuters)

A public health information message displayed in London (Image: Reuters)

A new research by the Imperial College London has found that while the coronavirus outbreak in England is “stable”, patterns across age groups show that infections among school-aged children is rising.

Among participants tested for the College’s Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission or REACT-1 study, those aged 17 and younger had an average reproduction number (R) of 1.18 against the country-wide average of 1.03 and R of 0.81 in age group 18-54.

R denotes the rate at which one person passes on the virus to another. Overall the study stated that the COVID-19 epidemic in England is “neither growing nor shrinking”.

REACT-1 is an ongoing coronavirus monitoring programme based on home swabs of 100,000 randomly selected people each month for two weeks. This study was from September 9 to 27, and showed that 1 in 120 people or 83 percent of the population had the virus during the period.

In fact, the highest number of infections were found in ages 5-12 years old – 1 in 43 or 2.32 percent and ages 13-17 – 1 in 39 or 2.55 percent.

Close

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more
Show

According to Professor Paul Elliott, director of the REACT programme from Imperial’s School of Public Health, latest data also indicates that households with children had a higher prevalence of infection, suggesting that kids may be bringing the virus into their homes.

“These trends reinforce how important it is for children aged 12 and above to get vaccinated and help curb the spread of infection, and minimise disruption to education,” he added.

The REACT-1 programme is carried out by Imperial in partnership with Ipsos MORI and is commissioned by the UK Health Security Agency. Data from the study “inform government decision making”, the College’s post added.

Region-wise, the lowest infection rate was found in South East England (0.57 percent) and the highest in Yorkshire and the Humber (1.25 percent). Further, patterns suggest infections are growing in London (R of 1.59) and East Midlands (R of 1.36) – above the overall average.

Demographics-wise, the higher burden is on black ethnicity (1.41 percent) compared to white people (0.78 percent); and households with six or more occupants were more likely to be infected (1.75 percent), compared to single-person homes (0.33 percent).

Around 1.73 percent of unvaccinated people showed infections, twice those who got both doses of the vaccine (0.56 percent). Researchers calculated the overall effectiveness of vaccines was 62.8 percent.

By vaccine-type, effectiveness for AstraZeneca was 44.8 percent and Pfizer-BioNTech was 71.3 percent.

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said the data shows that vaccination “makes a huge difference” but emphasised that the pandemic is “not over”.

“As we move towards winter, it is as important as ever that we continue to act responsibly in order to avoid transmission. While cases remain high, the vaccination programme is ensuring that this does not translate to a similarly high number of hospitalisations and deaths. We are urging everyone who is eligible to come forward for vaccination. It is the best way to reduce transmission and protect ourselves and those we love,” she added.
Jocelyn Fernandes
first published: Oct 14, 2021 09:36 am

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
Sections
ISO 27001 - BSI Assurance Mark