MORE than a third of 16 and 17-year-olds in Bradford have already had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

In the district, 36 per cent have had their first jab so far - 5,738 young people - as schools and colleges return after the summer break.

They became eligible for the jab last month, with pop up vaccination centres set up to encourage people to get protected.

The number in Bradford is below the national average, which stands at 49 per cent of 16 and 17 year olds.

The push for vaccinations comes as there are fears the return of schools will cause a rise in case numbers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK needed to speed up vaccinating youngsters in the age group, who are “a very important group for potential transmission”.

“There are still some who need that protection and I would just urge everybody who hasn’t yet had a jab to go and get one,” he added.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT school leaders’ union, said schools had worked hard over the summer to ensure a safe environment for the return of pupils, but poor guidance remained an issue.

He said: “The warnings from scientists about a potential rise in cases when schools return mean that it is essential the Government responds rapidly should the data suggest it is necessary to implement additional safety measures in schools."

Bradford’s young people lagging behind the national average reflects the wider picture in Bradford.

So far, 72.8 per cent of adults have had their first jab, and 64.7 per cent are fully protected, way behind the UK figures - 88.8 per cent having the first dose and 80.1 per cent having their second.

Discussions on whether to allow 12 to 15-year-olds who do not have underlying health conditions to be vaccinated are also ongoing.

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation said the benefit is considered too small to support a rollout – but Professor Chris Whitty and the three other chief medical officers in the UK are now reviewing the wider benefits of vaccinating the age group.

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