UK coronavirus LIVE: Moderna vaccine rollout begins in Wales as AstraZeneca children’s trial is paused
he Moderna vaccine rollout has started today in Wales, as the trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in children is paused while regulators investigate a potential association between the jab and a rare form of blood clot. Meanwhile the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is investigating a very rare and specific type of blood clot in the brain. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are expected to announce findings of their assessments on Wednesday or Thursday.
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More advisers to help disabled jobseekers find work
An extra 315 disability employment advisers (DEAs) will be based in jobcentres across the UK by May.
Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said: “We are committed to seeing one million more disabled people in work by 2027 and as we recover from the pandemic we are redoubling our efforts to boost the support for disabled jobseekers. “I know this is a challenging time, but we will be building on the record disability employment we have seen by protecting, supporting and creating jobs for disabled people. “I know how valuable a diverse and inclusive workforce can be, so it is fantastic to see employers across Britain signed up to government programmes like Disability Confident.”
The additional DEA posts will start to be filled from this month, bringing total numbers to 1,115.
Loneliness during pandemic ‘greater in areas with more young people’, new figures suggest
People in areas with higher crime rates or with higher levels of anxiety were also more likely to report feeling lonely. Loneliness rates were lower in countryside areas compared with urban and industrial locations, however. The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), suggest 7.2% of the adult population of Britain felt lonely “often or always” between October 2020 and February 2021.
This is the equivalent of around 3.7 million people – up from 2.6 million, or 5.0% of the population, between April and May 2020. North-east England recorded the highest loneliness rate of any region in England (8.7%), while eastern England recorded the lowest (6.5%). In Wales, 8.3% of adults surveyed said they felt lonely “often or always”, compared with 7.3% in England and 6.5% in Scotland.
The ONS said places with a lower average age have generally experienced higher rates of loneliness during the pandemic, and that “higher rates of loneliness reported by young people are particularly associated with urban areas outside London”.
Comedy club cancels pilot event over vaccine passport confusion
The Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool said it was subjected to a “hate campaign” online after reports suggested it was working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to trial Covid-status certification.
Elle Taylor says she had not heard of the Moderna vaccine until she was told she was receiving it
“It was great, the nurses were lovely and it didn’t hurt,” she said. Miss Taylor said she was aware of concerns about patients receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine developing blood clots. “I had heard but it doesn’t concern me too much, and I guess if it happens, it happens and I am in the right care if I need it, and I feel happy that I’ve tried the new one.”
Asked how she felt to be a trailblazer for millions of other people, the 24-year-old unpaid carer said: “I feel thrilled and really happy and honoured, and I just hope it goes well for everybody.”
BREAKING: The first dose of Moderna vaccine given to 24-year-old in Wales who cares for her grandmother
Elle Taylor, who works at a further education college in Llanelli, received the Moderna jab from staff nurse Laura French at West Wales General Hospital’s outpatients department. Speaking after receiving the vaccine, the 24-year-old said: “I’m very excited and very happy. “I’m an unpaid carer for my grandmother so it is very important to me that I get it, so I can care for her properly and safely.
“My grandmother has had her first dose and she is going for her second dose on Saturday.”
Jeremy Hunt says there is “urgency” over the MHRA concluding its investigations
Mr Hunt, chairman of the Health Select Committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think there is urgency; I think the one thing you can’t say about the MHRA is that they act slowly – they have been very, very fast and fleet of foot throughout this pandemic. “But I think people do understand that this is a new virus, these are new vaccines, there is no medicine that is 100% safe, and that’s why you have to look at these very difficult balances of risk.” On vaccine passports, Mr Hunt: “In normal times, if you were being asked to show your health record or Covid status before going into a pub, it would be absolutely abhorrent.
“But this is a pandemic. “It may not be necessary to do any of that if the vaccine programme is as successful as we hope, if cases fall to low enough levels. “But if the only way to socialise in public places safely is to ask people to demonstrate they’re not likely to be a risk to others, then I think people are quite sensible and quite pragmatic about this sort of thing.”
Vaccination programme should continue until more is known on blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine, says professor
Ravi Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases, told Sky News the vaccination programme should continue until more is known on blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine.
He said people in their “20s, 30s, 40s and 50s” are at risk of severe Covid “and there is an argument for vaccination to continue in those individuals because the rate of this blood clot disorder is extremely low, although slightly elevated against background levels.” He said vaccinating children was done to “cut down transmission in the community in the main” and therefore the decision to stop the study on them until more was known was “good practice”. Asked if he would take the jab, he said: “I think that’s on balance at the moment – there’s still transmission of Covid, and there is a risk to all of us of being infected, particularly as the economy is being opened up and society’s opening up, we are at risk of getting severe infection.
“So I would certainly be going forward for that vaccine in the current situation.”
Professor Calum Semple says he is “not worried one little bit” about headlines around the AstraZeneca vaccine
Speaking in a personal capacity, the Sage scientist told LBC radio: “I’ll take myself, I’m 53, my risk of death from Covid is about one in 13,000, for me it’s a no-brainer, I need to have the vaccine.” He later added: “This vaccine is safe. What do I mean by safe?
You can look right, look left, look right again cross a road, it’s safe to cross because you don’t see any cars (but) you can trip, you can stumble. “Nothing is risk-free, but is the vaccine safe? I would say yes.”
US government rules out federal vaccine passports for citizens
Despite similar schemes being set up around the world, the White House will not support American citizens “carrying a credential”, according to its press secretary.
Rate for rare blood clot is around one in 2.5 million people, says doctor
Professor Adam Finn told BBC Breakfast the blood clot cases causing concern were associated with low platelet counts “which we don’t normally see in cases of thrombosis, so that makes them stand out, and also makes them match cases that we’ve heard about from other European countries”.
GP Dr Ellie Cannon told the programme the rate for this type of blood clot was around one in 2.5 million people.
She said that, in contrast, among 2.5m 40-year-olds with Covid “we would expect around 2,000 deaths”, adding the risk of a clot was “incredibly rare”.
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