March 21, 2023

Covid live news: England case rate rise highest among 20- to 29-year-olds; Ireland starts registering over-12s for jabs

Public health body says case rates up for all age groups except 10- to 19-year-olds;...

Public health body says case rates up for all age groups except 10- to 19-year-olds; Ireland registering 12- to 15-year-olds after strong uptake by older children

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3.54pm BST

Over 70% of young people aged 18 to 29 in England have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, the government has said.

A total of 5,940,038 people in this age group have received a first dose (70.2%) and of those 2,683,434 people have received both doses (32.4%).

It’s fantastic that 7 in 10 young people in England have now received their first dose. The vaccines are already making a big difference for this age group and are building a wall of defence against Covid-19 which is allowing us to safely live with this virus. Vaccines can prevent you from catching the virus or passing it on to your friends and family, and reduce the severity of the symptoms if you do catch it.”

Tens of millions of people have now received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, across thousands of sites in the UK. With 70% of young people in England now vaccinated with at least one dose, we are well on our way to protecting the entire adult population.”

3.38pm BST

Symptoms of depression and anxiety symptoms among children and adolescents during the pandemic may have doubled, compared with pre-2020 estimates, a meta-analysis of 29 studies including 80,879 younger people around the world suggests.

“The Covid-19 pandemic, and its associated restrictions and consequences, appear to have taken a considerable toll on youth and their psychological well-being,” researchers reported in the paper published by Jama.

Loss of peer interactions, social isolation, and reduced contact with buffering supports (eg, teachers, coaches) may have precipitated these increases. In addition, schools are often a primary location for receiving psychological services, with 80% of children relying on school-based services to address their mental health needs. For many children, these services were rendered unavailable owing to school closures.

One possibility is that ongoing social isolation, family financial difficulties, missed milestones, and school disruptions are compounding over time for youth and having a cumulative association. However, longitudinal research supporting this possibility is currently scarce and urgently needed.

Related: Antidepressant use in England soars as pandemic cuts counselling access

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