Children aged 12 to 15 in the UK who are at greater risk of having a serious Covid-19 infection will be offered vaccination against the virus, it has been confirmed.
In addition, those ages 12 to 17 living with an immunosuppressed individual are also scheduled to be included in the coronavirus vaccination program.
“The primary purpose of the vaccination program has always been to prevent hospitalization and death”
The NHS has asked the government to prepare to vaccinate newly qualified groups “as soon as possible”.
But for now, the rest of the infant population, who have a low risk of the virus, will not be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The news comes from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), which is exploring available evidence on vaccination of children and adolescents under the age of 18.
JCVI now recommends that children ages 12 to 15 with severe neurodisibility, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities, should be offered the Covid-19 vaccine.
It also suggests that vaccination should be offered to those aged 12 to 17 living with an immunosuppressed person whose condition means they have a higher risk from Covid-19 but do not have a complete response to jab resistance.
In addition, JCVI said those who were within three months of their 18th birthdays should also offer vaccinations “to ensure good reception of new 18-year-olds”.
Existing instruction means that people ages 16 to 17 with underlying health conditions, who are put at greater risk by Covid-19, should already be offered the jab.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only Covid-19 jab approved in the UK for use in children aged 12 and over.
The committee said it does not currently recommend routine vaccination of children outside of identified groups, because evidence has shown that Covid-19 “temporarily” causes severe illness in children not adapted to the conditions of health.
It added that almost all children and young people were at “short-term risk” from Covid-19 and that less than 30 children had died in the UK from the disease in March 2021.
Data on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines in children are currently limited and therefore JCVI says a “precautionary approach is preferred”.
Its vision is that the “few health benefits of offering universal Covid-19 vaccination to children do not outweigh the potential risks”.
“We are pleased to hear that JCVI is still studying whether the benefits of vaccination in all young people could outweigh any potential risks”
Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of JCVI, said: “The primary purpose of the vaccination program has always been to prevent hospitalizations and deaths.
“Consistent with the fact that children who were previously well, if they get Covid-19, are more likely to have a mild form of the disease, there are few health benefits to vaccinating them.”
He said it was also “extremely uncertain” what the benefits of vaccinating children would be in terms of reducing carrying a much larger population, “especially since vaccination uptake is so high in older people with the most risk from severe Covid-19 infection ”.
“We will continue to have this advice reviewed as more information and effectiveness information becomes available,” he added.
Commenting on the announcement from JCVI, health and health care secretary Sajid Javid said he “accepted their expert recommendations” and “asked the NHS to prepare to vaccinate those who qualify as soon as possible. weather “.
“Young people aged 12 to 15 with severe neuro-disability, Down’s Syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities, as well as people in home contact with individuals who have -immunosuppress, will be eligible for vaccination soon, “he confirmed.
Dr Penelope Toff, co-chairman of the British Medical Association’s public health medicine committee, welcomed the new instruction and said it was already awaiting “more details from NHS England on how vaccines will be given” .
Therefore, people should not contact their GP “just now,” he said.
“We are pleased to hear that JCVI will continue to continue this instruction to review and further study whether the benefits of vaccination in all young people may outweigh any potential risks, especially in cases. increased intensity and concerns about health service pressures and increasing numbers of people with high Covid, ”added Dr Toff.
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