UK ready to offer COVID vaccine to all 12 to 15-year-olds

FILE PHOTO: A person receives a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine at the Central Middlesex Hospital in London
FILE PHOTO: A man receives a dose of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine at London's Central Middlesex Hospital
FILE PHOTO: A man receives a dose of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine at Central Middlesex Hospital in London, Britain, August 1, 2021. Reuters/Henry Nichols

September 13, 2021

by Alistair Smout

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is set to expand the offer of a COVID-19 vaccine to all 12 to 15-year-olds, top medical advisers said on Monday, adding that children would benefit from less disruption to their education.

Chief medical officers (CMOs) recommended that children aged 12-15 years in the UK get their first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) earlier this month recommended against had decided.

The United States, Israel and some European countries have introduced vaccinations for children more widely, putting pressure on the British government to follow suit.

There have been more than 134,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the UK, and the rapid onset of its vaccination rollout slows Of those over 16, 81% have received two vaccine doses.

The JCVI had earlier said the decision to vaccinate children was “very balanced” as the government sought further advice on the issue.

The CMO said in a letter that vaccinating children could reduce COVID-19 transmission and thus disruption in schools, and those benefits “provide enough additional benefits for this group to recommend in favor of vaccination.” Huh.”

“(Vaccination) will reduce education disruption,” England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said at a news briefing.

“We don’t think it’s a panacea, there’s no silver bullet… but we think it’s an important and potentially useful addition to help mitigate the public health impacts that come through educational disruption.” equipment.”

The CMOs for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be given to all children and young people aged 12-15, following existing JCVI advice. are not covered.

Each of the four countries in the United Kingdom has set its own health policy, and must indicate whether it will follow the CMO’s advice, although some ministers have previously expressed support for vaccination for children. Vulnerable children in that age group were already eligible for shots.

The CMO said a second dose would not be offered to the aged group until at least the spring as they wait for data to build up internationally.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Michael Holden and Jonathan Otis)


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