Four in five older primary school children likely to have Covid-19 antibodies

Around four in five older primary school children in most of the UK are now likely to have Covid-19 antibodies, new analysis suggests.

The estimates, which are for eight to 11-year-olds, are as high as 82.0% in both England and Scotland, with 79.7% in Wales.

Northern Ireland has a slightly lower figure of 72.2%.

The presence of coronavirus antibodies suggests someone has had the infection in the past or has been vaccinated.

But only a small number of children aged eight to 11 in the UK outside clinical trials have received any Covid-19 vaccine, meaning most people in this age group with antibodies will have them due to a coronavirus infection.

(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

The figures, which have been calculated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), are the first of their kind to prioritise a new higher threshold for antibodies, which better reflects the proportion of people likely to have a strong enough antibody response to provide some protection from a new Covid-19 infection.

The higher threshold will also provide the earliest signs of any changes in antibody levels, the ONS said.

The latest data is for the week beginning January 31 and shows how antibody estimates for older primary school children rose sharply during the recent Omicron-driven wave of infections.

In England, the estimate has jumped from 31.8% of eight to 11-year-olds at the start of December to 82.0% by early February. In Scotland it has increased from 30.4% to 82.0%.

Wales has seen a jump from 24.6% to…


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