Afzal Khan MP has challenged the government to offer every 12 – 15 year old a Covid vaccine by the end of the Christmas holidays, as it was revealed just 28.8% in Manchester have had a jab.
Nationally, less than half (45%) of children aged 12 – 15 have received their first vaccination and the weekly number of jabs given to schoolchildren has dropped 80% since half-term.
There is also a regional postcode lottery. In a class of 30 children, 13 will have received a jab in the North West.
The latest statistics reveal 235,000 state school pupils were absent from school due to Covid on 9 December, up 13% in the last fortnight.
There have been at least two confirmed Omicron variant outbreaks in primary schools in England.
With schools soon to close for the Christmas holiday, Labour is calling for children to have access to walk-in clinics, and a proactive campaign to promote the benefits of vaccinations to parents and discredit the anti-vax disinformation.
Labour has also urged Ministers to provide clarity for parents on the approval of the vaccine for those aged 12 and under.
Afzal Khan MP said: “With Omicron cases on the rise, the government must use the Christmas holidays to vaccinate as many children as possible in Manchester Gorton and prevent more school chaos next term.
“Local authorities, staff and parents in our community are doing their best under difficult circumstances, but the vaccine roll-out is slowing and covid-related school absences are rising.
“Ministers must urgently adopt Labour’s vaccine guarantee to help keep our kids in class in the new year.”
Shadow Schools Minister Stephen Morgan said: “The government’s complacency means we are now in a race against time to protect children’s health and education as the Omicron variant spreads, yet the vaccine roll-out is slowing down when it should be speeding up.
“Ministers must turbocharge vaccine delivery so all 12-15 year olds can get vaccinated over the Christmas holidays, and offer practical help to improve ventilation as Sage recommended over a year ago.
“The Conservatives must stop treating children as an afterthought.”