The Zero Covid Scotland campaign has launched a petition for vaccination and classroom ventilation for all school ages.
Scotland is reporting, at the beginning of January 2022, an average of 15K new COVID-19 cases a day, the majority of these the new, more transmissible, Omicron variant. Analysis has shown that unvaccinated people are the most likely to be infected, and even more likely to require hospital treatment, while the British Medical Journal reports that one in seven children have Long COVID symptoms 15 weeks after being infected.
School age cases represent a significant proportion of these new infections, and record numbers of young people have been hospitalised. However, the Scottish Government has yet to offer the vaccine to all 5-11 year olds, has lost impetus on the vaccination of 12-15 year olds, and has made little progress in improving ventilation mitigations against COVID-19 transmission in educational settings.
This is the double bind: a vaccination-dominated approach that is not being delivered, and at the same time a lack of other mitigation by ventilation. The resulting risks are long term chronic health problems and disability for the young, a source of re-infection that threatens the elderly and vulnerable, and an increased risk of further COVID-19 variants developing.
Around the world, many millions of young people aged 5-11 have been vaccinated against Covid-19, with overwhelming evidence that benefits to young people far outweigh any vaccine risks. The USA has been vaccinating 5-11 year olds since late October, and the EU since November.
The Scottish Government must: