Teachers are no more likely than other working-age adults to be hospitalized with Covid or suffer from a serious infection, a study shows.
The findings should “reassure” teachers and their families as they return to class at the start of the new school year, researchers say.
The scientists from the University of Glasgow examined all 132,420 cases of coronavirus among 21- to 65-year-olds in Scotland from March 2020 to July 2021.
Each was compared to a sample of uninfected people of the same age and sex in the infected person’s own primary care practice.
Analysis found that school teachers and others in their households would not be hospitalized with Covid or contract a serious infection in the past academic year.
This included periods when the schools were fully open.
Over the year, the risk of being hospitalized with Covid was less than 1 percent for teachers, health professionals and working-age adults in the general population.
Teachers were 23 percent less likely to be hospitalized with Covid than other workers, after adjusting for factors such as age, gender, general practice and ethnicity.
Findings should ‘reassure’ teachers and their families as they return to class at the start of the new school year, researchers say
They were also 44 percent less likely to have severe Covid, meaning they were severe enough to be admitted to intensive care or die within 28 days of testing positive.
Teachers’ opportunities worsened when schools were open, rising to the same level as the general labor force – but they were still half those of primary health care workers.
The magnitude of this increase was smaller in the summer of 2021 than in the fall of 2020, which is believed to be due to the success of the vaccine rollout.
The researchers concluded that it was not possible to say why teachers are not at higher risk than the average adult of working age.
But they suggest this may be because teachers are generally healthier or pay more attention to avoiding Covid than other professions.
This graph shows the percentage of people hospitalized by Covid who were patient-centered health professionals (purple line), non-patient-centered health professionals (yellow dashed line), teachers (purple dashed line), and the general population (blue dashed line). It shows that teachers are no more at risk from Covid than the general population
Antibody levels decline in people over 60, official blood test data shows
Covid antibody levels are already beginning to decline in people over 80, official data suggests today.
Ninety-two percent of older adults tested positive for the Covid-fighting proteins in mid-August. This was less than 95 percent in May, according to the results of a major blood test.
Levels have also fallen for adults in their 60s and 70s.
Meanwhile, about eight in ten young adults in the UK are now likely to have Covid antibodies.
The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) comes amid calls for Britain to confirm its booster vaccine campaign, which ministers hoped would begin next Monday.
No10’s advisors are still in doubt as to who exactly should qualify, but a final decision should be made soon.
But MailOnline revealed last week that the group is only expected to recommend third injections for people with severely weakened immune systems, possibly including just a few hundred thousand Britons.
This is despite real-world data that has already shown that vaccine efficacy may decline somewhat over time.
US health chiefs released figures last night showing that injections now reduce the risk of hospitalization by only about 75 percent over the Delta variant, compared to 95 percent when the injections first became available — but they emphasized that vaccines’ ability to prevent serious illness was generally still high.
Most teachers were young, with an average age of 42. 80 percent were female and 84 percent had no pre-existing conditions.
dr. David McAllister and colleagues write in The BMJ: ‘In our study, most teachers were young, were women and had few co-morbidities and thus had a low absolute risk of severe Covid and Covid hospitalization.
“In addition, compared to health professionals and other working-age adults who are otherwise comparable, teachers showed no increased risk of hospitalization with Covid or severe Covid.
“These findings should reassure most adults engaged in personal teaching.”
The findings come after education unions warned that easing Covid safety measures this term could lead to increasing infections in schools.
Schools in Scotland have already returned after the summer break and the reopening is said to have contributed to a rise in cases north of the border.
dr. Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “It is very good news and very reassuring that it has been determined that teachers are not at greater risk of hospitalization due to Covid.
“The study cannot determine why this is the case – although the fact that teaching is generally a profession for younger people and a large majority of the profession is female, and that teachers were promptly vaccinated, appears to be an important factor for these positive results.
“However, nothing in this study detracts from the importance of vigilance in suppressing the transmission of Covid in schools.”
She added: “The NEU has consistently pointed out that Covid’s problems in schools are mainly related to onward transmission through the community, a position the Prime Minister took late in January when he described schools as vectors of transmission.
A spike in Covid infection in school-age children will lead to more children and staff missing school and at high risk of viral transmission to the community where many adults do not share the general youth or good health of teachers.
“We continue to be concerned about our more vulnerable members, for example those registered as clinically extremely frail or third trimester pregnant women.
“We need to better protect the many thousands in these categories.
“The NEU calls on school and university leaders to provide every reasonable dispensation to ensure that these staff can continue to work safely.
“This will certainly help keep the number of school staff in the hospital down.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “While most staff have now received coronavirus vaccinations, it should be remembered that the vast majority of students have not been vaccinated.
‘The cabinet has decided to make the control measures a lot less strict in the autumn period than before and it is now very important that it monitors this situation.’