The Papers: 'Pause jabs for young people', and holidays latest

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The Guardian Wednesday

The Times Wednesday

Daily Telegraph Wednesday

Metro Wednesday

Daily Mail Wednesday

Daily Express Wednesday

Daily Mirror Wednesday

i newspaper Wednesday

Daily Star Wednesday

Financial Times Wednesday

Wednesday’s papers feature plenty of coverage of concerns about the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

The Guardian leads on quotes from the prime minister urging people to keep getting vaccines, despite a trial of the jab in children being put on hold.

The paper’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, points out that all medicines have side-effects, which she believes in this case are far outweighed by the benefits of mass inoculation.

In the Times’ view, any decision to limit the jab’s use will not only be a big setback for the UK’s vaccination programme, but also “seriously damage hopes that the world can bring the pandemic under control this year”.

The Daily Telegraph’s front page features a suggestion from a member of the government’s immunisation advisory committee that vaccines should be paused for people under the age of 50 until the safety of the Oxford jab can be fully established.

Dr Maggie Wearmouth – who was speaking to the paper in a personal capacity – said the move could be necessary to maintain the public’s trust and confidence.

Another expert, Dr Simon Clarke from the University of Reading, tells the online-only Independent the UK can afford to be cautious on the issue because it has access to a number of other vaccines.

A dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine being prepared

image copyrightReuters

The front page of the i newspaper focuses on a study that’s found a link between coronavirus and mental health problems.

It says one in three people with Covid-19 have been diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of contracting the virus.

The Times’ health editor, Kat Lay, calls the findings “alarming”, particularly when viewed in tandem with the rise in mental health problems caused by lockdown.

Covid passports

The debate over whether coronavirus status certificates should be introduced continues in many of the papers.

The Sun’s editorial pours scorn on the idea – not, it says, because of concerns over the infringement of liberties, but because “by the time they are finally introduced they may be a pointless, disastrous waste of money”.

The Daily Mirror’s leader urges ministers to provide evidence to back up why such widespread checks would be needed, to avoid the prospect of a backlash from the public.

But the Financial Times welcomes the idea in its leading article, saying that it could help to reopen society and assist businesses while also protecting the country from the risk of new strains of the virus.

However, it cautions that “chaos and confusion could still ensue… if the gap between intention and implementation is as wide as it has so often been” over the course of the pandemic.

In terms of parliamentary support, HuffPost UK reports that Labour has sent a briefing note to its MPs confirming that the party will vote against plans to introduce the Covid certificates.

A senior party source tells the website the current proposals are “poorly thought through… and run the risk of becoming another expensive Whitehall project.”

The Telegraph says the government will receive support from an unlikely source if the matter goes to a parliamentary vote.

The Scottish National Party’s Westminister leader, Ian Blackford, tells the paper his MPs will vote for the plan, despite Scottish parliamentarians usually abstaining on issues that only affect other parts of the UK.

A woman shows her COVID vaccination status on her mobile phone at a gym where a "Green Badge" is required to enter, as Israel reopens swathes of its economy, continuing to lift restrictions of a national lockdown to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Gordon Gym and Pool in Tel Aviv, Israel

image copyrightReuters

The front page of the Daily Mail claims that ministers are considering allowing people to take rapid Covid tests after returning to the UK to make holidays affordable.

Currently, people arriving from abroad need to pay hundred of pounds to buy the “gold standard” PCR tests – and sanctioning the cheaper lateral flow tests would significantly reduce costs for travellers.

The head of the Airlines UK trade body, Tim Alderslade, welcomes the idea in the Daily Express writing that the country’s recovery from the pandemic will be hampered if “travel becomes a privilege of the few”.

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The Financial Times claims Goldman Sachs spent £75m buying Deliveroo shares to prop up the company’s value on its first two days of trading.

The transactions accounted for nearly a quarter of all trades involving the firm’s shares – which have fallen by almost 30% since the market debut last week.

The paper says the bank is preparing for further disruption on Wednesday, when 70,000 non-professional investors will be allowed to trade their stocks for the first time. Goldman Sachs and Deliveroo refused to comment on the report.

The Times reports that Prince Harry will take a starring role in his production company’s first show for Netflix.

He will host Heart of Invictus, a documentary following injured armed service personnel as they prepare to compete in the Invictus Games, and which will be directed by two Oscar-winning British directors.

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The i newspaper reports that researchers in Massachusetts and Madras have developed a technique to grow functioning brain tissue using 3D printers.

The paper says the method – which involves producing the organic matter in tiny biocompatible resin chambers – is more effective at protecting the tissue than current ways of doing so.

It’s also significantly cheaper, which could lead to huge improvements in research into conditions like autism and schizophrenia.

And opera could be set to play an important role in helping people recover from long Covid, according to the Express.

It highlights a project being run by the English National Opera and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to teach sufferers singing techniques to tackle breathlessness and anxiety – 90% of people involved in a six-week trial reported an improvement in their symptoms.

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