Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Read the latest information from Parliament about Coronavirus

Petition Offer the Covid-19 vaccine to under 18s

Now that all adults are being offered the vaccine, most youth have so far remained unvaccinated, and unsurprisingly, the delta variant seems to disproportionately affect youth (likely as they are unvaccinated), significantly more than adults. The UK Government must take action to address this.

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The Pfizer vaccine has been approved in the UK for 12-18 year olds, but it is not being yet being offered to this age group. According to a study by Imperial College London (source: https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk/handle/10044/1/89629), children and teens are 5 times more likely to test positive for the delta variant, which now makes up over 90% of all Covid-19 cases in the UK. This is a virus that is increasingly affecting young people, who must not be forgotten about by the government. Take action now.

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Other parliamentary business

Government announces plans to expand Covid-19 vaccine offer to children

On Monday 19 July, MPs questioned Nadhim Zahawi, the Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment, on the Government's response to Covid-19, including plans relating to the vaccination of under-18s, following a ministerial statement.

In his statement, the Minister outlined the Government's plans to:

  • continue to vaccinate 16 and 17-year-olds who are in an at-risk group
  • expand the offer of the vaccine to some younger children with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of covid-19
  • offer a vaccine to children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with someone who is immunosuppressed

Watch the Government statement and MPs' questions: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/9b8f813c-e5e4-4a2a-9c61-bcc3f4e6c762?in=16:37:06

Read the transcript:
https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-07-19/debates/64EACE0F-A4FD-45C9-BCAF-CD14132B5366/Covid-19Update

The statement follows advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the Government on immunisation, on COVID-19 vaccination of children and young people aged 12 to 17 years.

Read the JCVI's advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-of-children-and-young-people-aged-12-to-17-years-jcvi-statement/jvci-statement-on-covid-19-vaccination-of-children-and-young-people-aged-12-to-17-years-15-july-2021

What is a ministerial statement?

Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of MPs, often at short notice. You can find out more about them here: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/statements/

Ministers are the MPs and members of the House of Lords who are in the Government. They are appointed by the Prime Minister and each given a specific area of government policy to oversee, for example education, health and social care, or national defence. Some senior Ministers are also referred to as Secretaries of State. Ministers speak on behalf of the Government during parliamentary debates and must answer questions put to them by other MPs or members of the House of Lords.

MPs to debate and take evidence on Covid-19 vaccination

Next week there will be two debates where MPs will discuss Covid-19 vaccination, including one specifically on the vaccination of children against Covid-19, and the Education Committee will take evidence on the inclusion of children in the Government’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Debate on Covid-19 vaccination on Monday 20 September

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs that oversees parliamentary petitions) has scheduled a debate on Covid-19 vaccination, following two petitions on this subject that have received over 100,000 signatures.

The debate will take place in Westminster Hall, the second chamber of the House of Commons, on Monday 20 September, and will last up to 90 minutes. It will be led by a member of the Petitions Committee, and the Government will send a Minister to respond.

Watch the debate (from 6pm, Monday 20 Sept): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7_2B4d48PU

You can also read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it has finished: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-09-20

Find out more about how Westminster Hall debates work:
https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/westminster-hall-debates/

Debate on the vaccination of children against Covid-19 on Tuesday 21 September

MPs will debate the vaccination of children against Covid-19 on Tuesday 21 September in Westminster Hall. The debate will be led by Miriam Cates MP.

This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

The debate will start at 9.30am and last for up to an hour and a half.

Watch the debate: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/c4ecaca5-4046-4712-a1ec-7796ca823e8b

You'll be able to read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it happens: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-09-21

Find out more about how Westminster Hall debates work:
https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/westminster-hall-debates/

Evidence session on Covid-19 and the vaccination of children

The House of Commons Education Committee will question England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty on Wednesday 22 September on the inclusion of children in the Government’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.

You'll be able to watch the evidence session live from 2pm on Wednesday 22 September: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Guide

Find out more about the evidence session here: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/203/education-committee/news/157461/chief-medical-officer-chris-whitty-to-give-evidence-to-education-committee-on-covid-vaccination-of-children/

The Education Committee is a cross-party group of MPs appointed by the House of Commons to scrutinise the work of the Department for Education, the Government department responsible for responsible for children's services and education in England.

Find out more about the Education Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/203/education-committee/

Follow the Committee on Twitter for updates on its work: https://twitter.com/CommonsEd

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You can sign up to the UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/your-uk-parliament-newsletter-sign-up-form/

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