Nearly all secondary school-age children have Covid-19 antibodies, according to data from the School Infection Survey.
The data which was released on Monday revealed that numbers of primary school parents who would be “unlikely” to vaccinate their children has increased.
The news comes as levels of Covid continue to rise in the UK, with new cases likely due to variants of the Omicron strain.
In the last week, coronavirus cases have risen significantly, with an estimated 1.7m reported to have had the virus, up 23% from 1.4 million the previous week.
An antibody test is a blood test to check if you’ve either had coronavirus (COVID-19) before, or made antibodies to the virus after having the COVID-19 vaccine.
A positive result detects the presence of Covid antibodies, meaning a person has previously been infected with Covid-19 or is vaccinated.
Antibodies can help ward off coronavirus, although it can not be said that antibodies guarantee a permeant resistance to the virus.
The survey found an estimated 99% of secondary pupils and 82% of primary pupils tested positive for Covid antibodies between March 3 and 22 this year.
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The testing, in its final round, found that there was “significantly higher” antibody levels in both primary and secondary pupils than during the previous round of tests in February, when 97% and 62% of secondary and primary pupils respectively tested positive for the antibodies.
The study also found that 78% of children aged between four and seven tested positive for antibodies.
Dr Patrick Nguipdop-Djomo, co-chief investigator of the study, said: “There has been a small increase in secondary school students testing positive for Covid-19 antibodies, around 99% compared to 97% in the second round of testing in January and February 2022.
This rise in antibody prevalence was larger in primary school students, increasing from 62% in the last round of testing to 82% in this round.”
Researchers also explored parents’ feelings about vaccination, finding that 6% of primary pupils had received at least one vaccine against Covid during March 2022.
The proportion of primary school pupils who were not vaccinated and whose parents said they were “unlikely” to agree to their child being vaccinated significantly increased from 24% in the first round of tests in December 2021 to 36% in March 2022.
The proportion of secondary pupils’ parents who would be “unlikely” to vaccinate their child remained largely unchanged. Dr Nguipdop-Djomo said: “The vaccine sentiment data suggests that the majority of secondary school students who said they were likely to get the vaccine in December did indeed get the vaccine.”
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