ASCL comment on Covid vaccines for over-16s

04/08/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to reports that all over-16s in Britain are set to be offered coronavirus vaccinations. 
 
Responding to reports that all over-16s in Britain are set to be offered coronavirus vaccinations, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“We would very much welcome vaccinations being routinely offered to all over-16s. The summer term ended with very large numbers of children and young people having to self-isolate for Covid-related reasons and while the rules on self-isolation will change in the autumn term there is a real risk of yet more disruption caused by transmission of the virus. It is therefore vital that everything possible is done to minimise the danger of young people having to spend more time out of school or college.
 
“Despite the government’s rhetoric about prioritising education it has simply not done enough on this front and it must do more. Vaccinations for over-16s should help but this obviously does not extend to younger age groups and the government must also do more for these young people. Two immediate steps should be investment in high-quality ventilation systems in education settings, and more support for the on-site asymptomatic testing the government is expecting secondary schools and colleges to provide at the start of the autumn term.
 
“The question of offering routine vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds must also be kept under review and if the emerging evidence suggests that the benefits outweigh any risks then the government must be ready to act accordingly because this could help in reducing educational disruption for this age group.”