Almost 73 percent of the entire population of the UK is now fully vaccinated, but a the majority of one demographic is still without theirs. Children.
Those aged 12 or older are now able to get their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, then their second 12 weeks after.
Just like other inoculation programs such as the HPV jab, Covid vaccinations will be available in schools.
Though children are at low risk of badly suffering from the virus, it can make some very unwell. It is hoped that the expansion of the program will result in fewer school absences and go some way to restoring a further sense of normality to the classroom.
Now, it appears as though the Government is weighing up whether to drop the age at which you can get a vaccine, to five years old.
When will 5-11 year olds get jabbed?
Plans to vaccinate 5-11 year olds have been delayed after an impasse developed between the Government and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI).
The JCVI’s recommendation to the Government has not yet been made public, but it is thought to advise No 10 expand vaccinations to younger children though on a ‘non-urgent’ offer to parents. This is because the group has a relatively low health risk from Covid.
The Government is reportedly frustrated with the JCVI due to their reluctance to authorize more child vaccinations.
A government spokesperson said: “No decisions have been made by ministers on the universal offer of a Covid-19 vaccine to all five- to 11-year-olds.”
“We are committed to reviewing the JCVI’s advice as part of wider decision-making ahead of the publication of our long-term strategy for living with Covid-19.”
When will the decision be made?
A decision is set to be made on 21 February after Parliamentary recess, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil his long-term Covid plan.
This will include the lifting of almost all pandemic measures in England.
What have other countries done?
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration gave healthcare providers the green light to give five year olds the vaccination.
Canada and Australia are also vaccinating children as young as five.
Meanwhile in Europe, Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and Italy are just some of the major nations that have approved and vaccinated 5-11 year olds.
Will child testing still be free?
Lateral flow and PCR testing remains free for all children and adults, for now.
However, its long term future is uncertain and the UK Government has not given any reassurances that it will be charge free in the long term.
Do children still have to get tested for school?
According to official Government guidance, primary age pupils (those in year 6 and below), do not need to test regularly.
This is unless they have been identified as a contact for someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 and the should take lateral flow tests every day for 7 days.
Do children need to isolate if they test positive?
All school age children have to isolate for a minimum of five days after the day of a positive test before going back to school.
However, to do this they have to have tested negative twice.
Can I claim Test and Trace Support?
If you are unable to work as you have to look after your self-isolating child, you may be able to claim £500 from the Government.
The support is designed to help low income households and can be claimed here.
Do children need to wear masks in schools?
Under 11s are exempt from wearing face coverings in all settings, including schools.
When will Covid rules end in England?
All restrictions in England are likely to end on 24 February, three days after MPs return from parliamentary recess.
“It is my intention to return on the first day after the half-term recess to present our strategy for living with Covid,” Johnson said speaking to the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions.
In January, Johnson hinted that Covid-19 measures could be scraped for good when they expired on March 24 or sooner. Though it looks like he has sped up plans as his premiership continues to creak.
What restrictions will end?
The removal of restrictions will almost certainly see the end of mask wearing, while legally mandated self-isolation after a positive test will also go.
Guidance to work from home has already ended, while care homes no longer have any limit on visitors.
It comes at the same time rules for travelers to the UK are being relaxed.
From February 11, the fully vaccinated have not needed to take any Covid tests and those unvaccinated will not have to isolate on arrival.