More than 43 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine – and over 31 million have had a second.
Public Health England said it should be possible for everyone over the age of 40 to get their second dose by England’s ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19.
With so many Brits now fully inoculated, many are wondering whether they still have to self-isolate if they come into contact with an infected person.
Additionally, since children are at extremely low risk from the virus, do they still have to stay home from school if they develop symptoms?
Here’s all you need to know.
Do children need to self-isolate?
Yes, if your child has been exposed to someone infected with coronavirus or has symptoms themselves then they must self-isolate.
Your child must self isolate for a further 10 days from the day they first show symptoms.
Other members of their household will then have to self-isolate for 10 days and possibly for longer if they then show symptoms themselves.
This is because although children are at a lower risk of getting sick with Covid-19, they can still be carriers. The majority of children infected with coronavirus show no symptoms at all.
The latest official figures from the Department of Education show, in England alone, 2.7% of primary and 4.2% of secondary schoolchildren are absent because of Covid-19.
- 9,000 with a confirmed case
- 16,000 with a suspected case
- 172,000 self-isolating because of potential contact with a positive pupil in school
- 42,000 self-isolating because of potential contact with a case from outside school
A government-led trial is underway to work out whether the daily testing of pupils who are close contacts is a better option than self-isolation – but that will come too late for this school year.
Data from the trial should answer the question of how many close contacts of infected children actually become infected themselves – and give ministers some idea of how rules could change in the future.
Until then, schools with positive cases report them to the Department for Education and contact their local authority’s public health team for advice.
Do people with two vaccines still need to self-isolate?
Yes, people who are fully vaccinated still need to self-isolate and need to keep doing so for the duration of the 10 day quarantine period.
This is because you can still be a carrier, even if you have received both doses of the jab.
The government website states: ‘If you are instructed to self-isolate you must do so because there is still a risk that you might spread infection to others, even if you have been vaccinated and feel entirely well yourself.’
Failure to self-isolate for 10 days can result in a fine of £1,000, increasing to £10,000 for repeat offences under the current rules.
However, this week it was confirmed studies are underway to determine whether the self-isolation requirement for those double-vaccinated could be replaced with a new testing scheme instead.
If the policy change is approved, rather than spending 10 days at home, people could be required to take daily lateral flow tests instead if they are identified as a contact of someone who tests positive for Covid-19.
On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast the approach is being piloted ‘to check that that will be effective, but it is something that we’re working on’.
He added: ‘We’re not ready to be able to take that step yet, but it’s something that I want to see and we will introduce, subject to clinical advice, as soon as it’s reasonable to do so.’
In the meanwhile, you should continue to follow the government’s guidance on self-isolation.
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Author: Evelyn Richards