England’s top medic says COVID-19 transmission highest in children

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LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) – England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty on Wednesday said that children were currently driving transmission of COVID-19 at the moment, and that without vaccination, almost all 12- to 15-year-olds would get infected at some point.

“There is definitely substantial transmission happening in this age group. In fact, the age group we’re talking about is the one in which the highest rate of transmission is currently occurring, as far as we can tell,” Whitty told lawmakers at a session about the decision to offer COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 12-15.

All children in that age group will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine after Whitty and his colleagues said last week that children would benefit from reduced disruption to their education.

Whitty said that the recommendation focussed purely on the benefit to children aged between 12 and 15, and had not been made for political reasons or for the benefit of more vulnerable adults.

He added that while the vaccination programme would cause some disruption to schools, it would be outweighed by the likely disruption caused if children caught COVID-19.

“The great majority of children who have not currently had COVID are going to get it at some point,” he said.

“It won’t be necessary in the next two or three months but they will get it sooner or later because this is incredibly infectious… vaccination will reduce that risk.”

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Kate Holton)


Photo People walk past a Covid vaccination sign outside a hospital in central London, Britain, 09 September 2021. The UK government is expected to announce a decision on Covid vaccination boosters and vaccinations for children aged twelve to fifteen years of age. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

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