Public health bosses in Hertfordshire have had to draft in more staff to vaccinate schoolchildren against Covid-19, in order to meet demand.

The latest health data shows that those aged between 12 and 15 are among the most likely to have the virus in the county at the moment.

The infection rate among secondary school-aged pupils is more than 1,500 cases per 100,000 in Hertfordshire, which compares to a county-wide rate of all ages of around 350.

Just three weeks ago the government gave the go-ahead for children aged 12 to15 to be given the Covid jab.

According to Hertfordshire's public health director Jim McManus, more than 6,900 pupils in the county’s secondary schools – so one in 10 – have had the vaccine so far.

Speaking at a virtual media briefing on October 5, McManus said the vaccine uptake amongst 12-15-year-olds had been "higher than expected", adding they had had to draft more people into schools to help.

Meanwhile, Mr McManus stressed that the vaccination booster’ programme has also started in the county.

Eligible groups include all over-50s, those who live or work in care homes, front-line health and social care workers and unpaid carers who are over 16.

They also include over-16s with a health condition that puts them at a higher risk of getting seriously ill with Covid 19 and those over-16 who live with someone with certain health conditions.

Residents within these groups are eligible for a booster jab six months after their second vaccination.

Mr McManus said they will be contacted by their GP practice of the national NHS booking system when it is time to come forward.

Mr McManus stresses that although case rates are currently quite high, hospital admissions are lower compared to last year.

Highlighting the role of the vaccination programme, he said: "One of the reasons we have managed to have some form of normality is because of the sheer number of people taking the vaccine up.

"If we didn’t have the number of people taking the vaccine up the hospitals would be much fuller and there would be many more people dying than there are now."

He added: "The best present you can give yourself is getting vaccinated – and the best present you can give others is getting vaccinated."

Although four per cent of people who are double vaccinated could still need hospital treatment for Covid-19, Mr McManus said that it is those who are not vaccinated who are getting seriously ill.

The public health chief says current data suggests that less than one per cent of people in hospital in Hertfordshire being treated for Covid-19 have had both doses of the vaccine.

As of September 28, Government Covid dashboard data shows West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust was caring for a total of 43 Covid patients.