May 21, 2021
Vaccinating children over 12 for Covid and boosting self-isolation payments could both prevent fresh spikes in the pandemic, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.
Vaccinate Children Over 12 And Boost Self-Isolation Pay, Jeremy Hunt Urges Ministers
The chairman of the Commons health select committee told BBC Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster that he believed the UK would soon follow the United States in allowing under-18s to get the jab.
In a wide-ranging interview, he also said it was not right that the UK continued to recruit nurses from India and other countries where they were desperately needed, arguing the NHS should further increase numbers trained domestically.
He called for action to tackle the 40% of Covid deaths caused by picking up the virus in hospital and suggested an independent watchdog should set targets for NHS and care staffing.
Ahead of a hotly anticipated evidence session with former No.10 adviser Dominic Cummings, Hunt said he didn’t want the hearing to be dominated by political “dirty washing” or score-settling and that it should instead be focused on lessons learned from any failures to date.
The Pfizer vaccine is currently approved for use in over-16s in the UK, while AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are authorised for over-18s.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the UK has secured enough Pfizer doses for children to be vaccinated, if licences are granted.
In the interview to be broadcast on Saturday, Hunt said: “Vaccinating children is something we definitely need to look into and I’m sure we will because they can transmit the virus across generations even if they are not badly affected themselves.
“I think it’s encouraging the US has approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for the over-12. I would expect something similar here too.”
Earlier this week, Hancock said the government had “a couple of months” before it needed to make a decision on under-18s jabs.
But Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford recently said it was likely the Welsh government would want to roll out jabs for children if licences were granted.
Hunt hinted that with upto 50% of people failing to isolate for money reasons, the “lessons learned” inquiry may recommend both a big boost in state payments in future and a more localised test and trace system.
“I think it’s likely that a much simpler financial proposition would have helped. Something like we will make up any money that you lose out on if you’re asked to isolate, because if you’re taxi driver or whatever it is, no questions asked.
“I think the second thing is more localised contact tracing capability would have helped. I think people are more likely to isolate if they were asked to do so by their local council or someone working for their local council than from someone in a call centre 300 miles away.”The Commons inquiry into the pandemic is being jointly held by the health and social care committee and the science and technology committee, with its conclusions due this summer. A wider public inquiry isn’t expected to report until after the next election.
With Cummings due to give evidence next week, Hunt said he was happy to give the former adviser enough time to answer questions but warned he could not be allowed to use if for any personal agenda.
“Select committees are cross party. So what this is not, is a moment for the dirty washing of political laundry. Because what we want to do is to get to the bottom of what we did well and what we did not do well, and what lessons we need to learn.
“But it is a very unusual thing in a select committee inquiry to take evidence from someone who is actually in the room when the big decisions were made, both at the start of the pandemic, and in the run up to second lockdown in November. So we’ll be asking, what were the pressures on decision makers, why certain decisions were taken. And I think that will be incredibly helpful.
“If he’s got a lot to say we’ll give him the space to say it, but we only want to hear things that are relevant to our inquiry which is lessons that can be learned for the future in terms of our country’s pandemic handling.”
With India currently going through its worst wave of the virus, Hunt said that the UK had to now rethink its recruitment of NHS staff from places where they were needed locally.
Asked if it was right that the NHS recruited nurses from countries like India, he replied: “I don’t think so. I think that we have undertrained the numbers of doctors and nurses we need over many decades, because we’ve been confident that we could import them from other countries, if we needed to.
“But for the NHS to have doctors or nurses from places like Sudan and Somalia and India, brilliant professionals though they are, I think poses some very difficult ethical questions.
“I think the NHS should be training the numbers of doctors and nurses that we need for ourselves, and then have all the international exchanges that mean that we are benefiting from contact with the brightest best from all over the world, but not fundamentally depending on other countries to do our training for us.”
The former health secretary said hospital acquired Covid was a big issue that failed to get the attention it deserved, claiming between 20% and 40% of all deaths were from people who caught the virus in a hospital setting.
“One of the things I think is not being talked about enough has been the high proportion of people who caught Coronavirus in a hospital, and died because of an infection that they caught in a health care setting. We’ve got to do better.
“I think there are lots of lessons but it looks like hospitals when they overcame their PPE issues early on, didn’t have any guidance about social distancing and things they should take care of outside the COVID wards, outside the ICU.
“So people were really careful inside intensive care units but in the dementia wards, the elderly care ward, other parts of hospitals where doctors and nurses have teas and coffees, we didn’t do enough early on and there needed to be some national guidance to help people do that.
“I think we also will look at ventilation systems in hospitals because we know with an airborne virus it’s not just surfaces, it’s what’s carried in the air.”
However, ONS data suggests the root cause of rising infection rates in hospitals is rising rates in the community.
On the European measure of “nosocomial” Covid infection, which occurs in hospital after a fortnight and cannot have been brought in by a patient from the community, the rate was not higher than 11% during the worst peak during winter.
Nosocomial data identifies whether a patient was likely to have acquired Covid in the healthcare setting, but does not attribute cause of death to that infection.
Outbreaks in hospitals are rarer than in other settings including, care homes, education settings and workplaces.
Hunt said that the NHS 1% pay rise offer was “badly handled”, but said the need to recruit many more nurses and doctors was just as important.
He called for an independent watchdog like the Office for Budget Responsibility to publish the levels of staffing needed by both health and social care over the next 10 years “as a way of creating a discipline on the government to make sure we are actually training enough people”.
The Week in Westminster will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday May 22 at 11amRelated...Here's What The Coronavirus R Rate Is Near YouTwitter Is Obsessed With Prince William's Vaccination Gun ShowBrexit Is Back, Whether Either Party Likes It Or Not
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.