Covid vaccinations for 16 and 17-year-olds to start within weeks
After a recommendation from vaccine experts, all 16 and 17-year-olds in the UK will start being offered a first dose of the Covid jab within weeks.
The change in guidance means that around 1.4 million teenagers will be eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech jab with no requirement for parental consent. The JCVI said it expected one dose of the vaccine would give the 16 and 17-year-old age group good protection against severe illness and around 80% protection against hospitalisation.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer said, there were plenty of vaccines available, adding: “We have the supply and I’m expecting this to start in a very short number of weeks indeed. There is no time to waste in getting on with this,” he said, highlighting that children will start going back to sixth forms and colleges soon. “I want us to proceed as fast as is practically possible.”
Read the full story in the BBC.
NHS loses prestigious ranking as best health system
The NHS has lost its prestigious ranking as the best health system in a study of 11 rich countries by influential US thinktank, Commonwealth Fund.
The NHS had scored first place in the thinktanks two previous reports in 2017 and 2014 but this year the study has found that Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia all provide better healthcare than the UK. The Commonwealth Fund has blamed the fall of NHS’s placement on the delays patients face in accessing care and treatment, lack of investment in the service, and poverty.
Siva Anandaciva, the chief analyst at the King’s Fund, said “According to this report, our previously world-beating health service is at risk of moving to the middle of the pack, largely due to growing delays across the system in people’s ability to access care quickly,”
Read the full story in The Guardian.
A third of cancer patients say they received worse care since Covid
A survey by Cancer Research UK has shown that some 29% of cancer patients due to start treatment during the pandemic experienced cancellations, changes, or delays to their treatment.
Pre-covid, ratings for overall cancer care were overwhelmingly positive with 84% of patients rating it ‘very good’. However, 31% downgraded their rating since the pandemic hit, with one in ten saying they felt their previously ‘very good’ care had slipped to ‘average’ or below.
Chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Michelle Mitchell warned that “for the first time in decades, we’re faced with the fact that cancer survival could go backwards. COVID-19 hit the health system hard and cancer services suffered as a result, but even before the pandemic struck cancer targets were not being met”
Read the full story in Sky News.
Fifth of England Covid hospital admissions are 18-34
Amanda Pritchard, the new CEO of the NHS, has said that one in five people being admitted to hospital in England with Covid is aged between 18-34.
In her first major interview, Pritchard revealed that about 1,000 young adults were currently “really unwell” in hospital and encouraged young people to come forward and get vaccinated. NHS sources said the latest figures on hospital admissions reflected the success of the vaccination programme in protecting older age groups.
Ms Pritchard said: “It shows how effective the vaccine programme has been in protecting people, stopping them needing hospitalisation, keeping them safe.”. She warned that young people who have not been jabbed could become seriously ill, adding, they “are not immune and the best way they can protect themselves absolutely is to get that vaccine if they haven’t already”.
Quote of the week
On 1st August Amanda Pritchard became CEO of the NHS. In a series of posts on Twitter she thanked NHS staff for their efforts during the pandemic:
“The dedication, skill and compassion of NHS staff have been matched by innovation, agility and a ‘can do’ spirit that kept vital services running while our hospitals cared for more than 400,000 Covid patients… All this alongside the NHS vaccination programme which has been an unparalleled success, delivering more than 71 million doses and giving full protection to more than 32 million people.”
Find out more from The Independent.