Covid-19: Fears for cancer patients and Northern Ireland schools return discussedon March 11, 2021 at 7:27 am

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Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday morning.

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday morning. We’ll have another update for you this evening.

Cancer patients are much less protected against Covid-19 than other people after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, a study suggests. However their immune response was greatly boosted by a second jab after three weeks, as recommended before the government extended the gap to 12 weeks to give some protection to greater numbers more quickly. Senior study author Dr Sheeba Irshad, from King’s College London, says the “really worrying” findings should prompt an urgent review, although Cancer Research UK says the study is yet to be reviewed and patients should continue to follow GPs’ advice.

Woman receiving chemotherapy treatment

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The Northern Ireland Executive meets later to discuss when all children should return to school. Education Minister Peter Weir wants all pupils in Northern Ireland back in classrooms by 12 April, and is recommending all remaining primary school pupils who have yet to return go back on 22 March. Department of Health advisers previously warned against a full return of schools.

Education Minister Peter Weir in a classroom with two schoolboys

image copyrightPAcemaker

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Shop owners say they are being “treated like children” with a lack of detail about when non-essential retailers in Wales can reopen. Ministers will meet on Friday for a lockdown review. But Lucy Hywel, secretary of the Y Fenni Business Community in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, tells 5 live: “We’re days away from possibly opening and we have no idea whether we’re going to, or not.” The Welsh government says it cannot provide as much predictability as it would like.

Lucy Hywel
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Young people have had to cope with anxiety over schoolwork, on top of limits on their social lives and contact with friends. One group from a range of organisations in Northern Ireland told Stormont’s Education Committee about the pandemic’s impact on their mental health.

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Did you know some people were practically immune to Covid-19? John Hollis didn’t realise he’d been infected but later discovered he’s one of the rare people who has “super antibodies”. Scientists hope studying people like John can teach them how to make better vaccines and treatments.

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