Health Board Under 18s Vaccine uptake a ‘Concern’ says Lee Waters MS

Llanelli’s Member of the Senedd, Lee Waters, has voiced his concern about recent figures published by Public Health Wales which show that Hywel Dda University Health Board has one of the lowest levels of vaccination uptake amongst under 18’s in Wales.

The figures show that currently only around 55% of eligible 12–15-year-olds have received their first dose of a vaccine – the second lowest percentage in Wales – with only 6% of 12–15-year-olds having received two doses.

Figures are higher amongst the 16–17-year-old category; partly as they were able to access the vaccine sooner. Hywel Dda Health Board is one of only three health boards with less than 60% of 16–17-year-olds being double vaccinated.

Lee Waters MS said:
“I am concerned for children returning to our local schools after the Christmas break. Pupils have already missed a lot of school due to the pandemic so these figures will be particularly worrying for parents and staff members. The last thing anyone wants is for Covid-19 to spread amongst these age groups and pupils having to spend even more time out of education.”

Across the UK case numbers of Covid-19 have continued to rise, amid the surge of the Omicron variant.

The Office for National Statistics found that in the week ending 31st December 2021 157,900 people in Wales had COVID-19. This means 1 in around 20 people were infected with the virus.

The MS added:
“The figures we are seeing are really worrying. I would encourage everyone to get a vaccine when they are offered it. As children go back to school, it is important that we do all we can to keep parents, staff, and pupils safe. The vaccine is our best protection against the virus, and it critically important that we protect our vital services, including schools.”

Mr Waters went on to comment:
“Our local schools have worked extremely hard during the pandemic. We are currently seeing very high case numbers. Schools are likely to experience staffing issues if we do not all do what we can to curb the spread of this virus.”

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