A LEADING public health expert has backed the NHS's reported plans to begin vaccinating secondary school pupils against Covid-19 from September.

The Sunday Times reported health service officials are compiling planning documents which include a measure to offer a single dose of the Pfizer jab to children aged 12 and older when the new school year starts.

Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, told Times Radio: "I think we are moving in that direction.

"I think the reason to vaccinate children ... is really to add to herd immunity.

"If the current trials are promising, then I do think (vaccinating children from September) will happen."

It is "very much an open question" whether secondary school pupils will need to be vaccinated from September, an expert has said.

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation member Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol, was asked by Times Radio if there was a "need" for the plans reportedly being drawn up by the NHS.

"We don't know the answer to that yet, so this is very much still up in the air," Professor Finn said.

"I think it's very much an open question at this point," he added.

The paediatrician said there were "no definite plans" to begin vaccinating children aged 12 and up from the start of the next school year.

However, he said the first children to be vaccinated if the plans did proceed would be those "at risk" due to health problems.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has warned a "careful" approach to easing restrictions is still required during the "last lap" against coronavirus.

He told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "I know that people are hankering to go a bit faster but actually we feel vindicated at taking steady steps out of the lockdown is the smart way to go.

"We're very close now to really turning the corner and I think we still need to be careful to go as I said we don't want to see the gains lost and the sacrifices that have been made undone.

"By the time we get to June 21 almost all social restrictions will be lifted, so there's only a little bit more time to go but it's right we do that in a careful way.

"I do think we just need to make sure that in the last lap, if you like, that we are careful and we don't lose the gains we've made."

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said it was very welcome that the Government was exploring ways to make it easier for people to get back to normal more quickly.

When asked on Sophy Ridge on Sunday if Labour supported plans to allow people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus to not quarantine if they take daily tests, she said: "We are certainly very keen to see it made easier for people to go about their normal lives, particularly because we have long had concerns about the economic impact of quarantine arrangements on people."

However, she said Labour wanted plans to follow the science and to make sure any new measures being taken did not "unravel" the progress made so far.

Ms Nandy added: "That's one of the reasons we meet regularly with Sage scientists, to make sure they are robust and that we are not taking measures to unlock that people desperately want to see, that people desperately need, that will unravel the amazing progress that has been made through the national vaccination effort.

"There's light at the end of the tunnel, I think we can all see it, we can feel it, but we are not there yet."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said that "all the different contingencies" are being looked at when asked about a reported plan to offer vaccines to secondary school pupils as soon as September.

He told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday he would not "speculate at what we're going to do beyond the existing road map", but added: "You're right that we're looking at all the different contingencies to make sure that the easing-up of the restrictions, the returning to normal, can be done in a safe and secure way."

Professor Peter Openshaw said it was too early to declare victory over coronavirus in the UK.

Prof Openshaw, who is a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nertag), told the Andrew Marr Show: "I would absolutely say it is too early to declare victory and to drop our guard.

"We do know that this infection has a tendency to come back again and we need to use this time to be absolutely sure we have got every precaution in place to stop further outbreaks."