Coronavirus vaccinations for young people at Covid hotspots in Glasgow
SURGE vaccinations will be targeted at adolescents and young people in Glasgow hotspots where Covid rates are up to 25 times higher than those in Scotland as a whole.
Residents of postcodes G41 and G42 in the south of the city are already being urged to get tested for the virus regardless of symptoms, but tonight the Scottish government confirmed vaccinations will be stepped up for residents 18 to 39 years old.
He confirmed that the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde “are stepping up activity in line with JCVI recommendations by advancing vaccination of people aged 18 to 39 from these areas.”
A spokesperson said: “This increase in immunization will include a new offering to these eligible cohorts and the deployment of additional vaccine stocks to accelerate the deployment in the remaining cohorts in the affected areas.”
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Glasgow is due to switch to level two restrictions from Monday along with the rest of the continent except Moray, despite a case rate of 74 per 100,000 – nearly three times the Scottish average.
Some scientists have called for curbing the lockdown roadmap in England, where rates of an Indian variant subtype are much higher, but Scottish government officials said “the intention has not changed “for Glasgow to ease restrictions, however the situation is being closely watched.
The spike is largely due to clusters of infection among younger, unvaccinated people at Pollokshields, Easterhouse and Govanhill, with Pollokshields West battling a case rate of nearly 730 per 100,000.
The communities are also home to large Muslim populations who celebrate Eid, the religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, and have comparatively lower immunizations than the general population.
In Blackburn, Lancashire, where the worrying B1.617.2 variant now accounts for more than half of cases, the vaccine is immediately being rolled out to all people over 18.
Speaking earlier, Professor Linda Bauld, President of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘I would say that at present the best approach [in Glasgow] is an intensive local approach and not only advanced testing but the targeted vaccination campaign.
“You can see what they’re doing in Blackburn – that’s what we have to do here.”
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The Indian variant is believed to be contributing to the increase in infections in Glasgow, although it is not known exactly how many cases have been detected in the city.
Public Health Scotland said as of May 10, 35 cases of the B1.617.2 strain – one of the three subsets of the Indian variant – had been detected in Scotland.
These are all seen to be directly or indirectly related to travel and household groups, rather than the community transmission that is emerging in areas such as London and the North West of England.
Public Health England said the subtype – which became a variant of concern a week ago – is “at least as transmissible” as the dominant strain of Kent, but there is growing evidence in India and the United States. UK that it is able to outperform it, with some estimates suggesting that it is around 60 percent more transmissible.
Two-thirds of people aged 16 to 49 in Scotland are still unvaccinated, and modeling indicates that even if the variant does not cause more serious illness, it could still lead to an increase in the number of deaths by infecting many more of people.
Professor Rowland Kao, president of veterinary epidemiology and data science at the University of Edinburgh, said a “pause” in exiting the lockdown would make sense.
He said: “All it might take is a little more effort to get the numbers down enough, to get more vaccinations in the region, to delay things a bit, then you’ll be fine. .
“Take it now, and if that turns out to be a false alarm you’ve wasted a week or two, but if it turns out worse you’ll be really glad you did.”
Experts from the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) held an urgent meeting tonight to discuss evidence that the variant is now spreading rapidly in the UK, with cases more than doubling in a week from 520 to 1,313 .
About 44% of all Covid cases in England picked up outside hospitals are now non-Kent cases, with most – but not all – considered to be infections with the Indian variant.
Dr Christine Tait-Burkard, infection and immunity researcher at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, said: “We still have very little information on how vaccination protects against this variant, but there is no indication that the vaccine wouldn’t. also protect us from serious illness caused by this variant. ”
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It comes as bars and restaurants prepare to resume indoor alcohol sales from Monday, with larger groups allowed to meet indoors in the hotel business and for the first time at some. from others without physical distancing.
Professor James Naismith, a Scottish biologist and director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute of Life Sciences in Oxford, has warned that the variant “is going to happen everywhere.”
He said he did not believe the local “level” restrictions would help contain the variant, and urged the government to tackle the problem as a nationwide problem.
He said: “When we tried to have different restrictions locally in different regions, it didn’t really make a difference.”
Across Scotland, cases have increased 46% week after week, from 1,151 to 1,681, but the number of people hospitalized with Covid remains low at 63 – with just four patients in intensive care.
In Moray, which will remain under level three restrictions due to high rates of Covid, the NHS Grampian said there were “early signs of improvement” but new outbreaks are still emerging in areas such as Lossiemouth, Keith and Aberlour.
Vaccinations have been speeded up and the use of community testing would have been very encouraging.
NHS Grampian Deputy Director of Public Health Chris Littlejohn said: “It could be another two weeks before the numbers show real signs of returning to normal and we cannot afford any complacency at this point.”