The EIS has welcomed the decision by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) that young people aged between 12 and 15 should be offered a COVID vaccination.

Infection rates have increased substantially in recent weeks, and we have seen record levels of both pupil and staff Covid related absences particularly amongst young people, as schools have returned. This is having a serious impact on education provision and has been a cause for concern for teachers and other school staff.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “The EIS welcomes this decision by the CMOs as the latest step in the battle against Coronavirus. Offering the vaccine to young people in the 12 to 15 age group will make secondary schools safer by reducing the risk of the virus spreading through school communities and will help reduce the National Occupational Networks level of disruption to education.

“Whilst we know that young people are less likely to become hospitalised through COVID, offering the vaccine will offer important additional protection against the virus.”

Mr Flanagan added, “In the few short weeks since our schools returned after the summer, we have already seen significant outbreaks in some school communities. This has led to an increase in enforced absences from school, with record numbers of students and staff forced to stay at home due to Coronavirus.

“Rolling out the availability of the vaccines to a wider group of young people will reduce the risk of further outbreaks linked to schools and help ensure that education provision can continue on as normal a basis as possible.”