The prospect of vaccinating children over the age of five is “the next problem on the horizon,” said a public health expert.
Professor Devi Sridhar, personal chair in global public health at the University of Edinburgh, told Good Morning Britain that Pfizer had applied for its vaccine for use in the United States over the age of five.
“To mention the exciting thing on the horizon, even for parents of younger children,” she said.
“It looks like Pfizer will seek approval of the vaccine for five- to 11-year-olds in the United States in October and that for those under 12.”
It comes when the UK’s Chief Medical Officers announced yesterday that children over the age of 12 will be receiving the Covid vaccine.
And vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said children could opt for the coronavirus vaccine against their parents’ wishes after meeting a clinician.
The vaccines minister told Sky News, “Children will be given a leaflet to share with their parents and of course we have a consent form that will be delivered to them either electronically and in some schools physically to their parents, and their parents will . “Then read all the information you need to consent if the child is to be vaccinated.
“On the very rare occasions where there is a disagreement between the parent and the 12-15 year old, for example if the parent does not want to agree but the 12-15 year old wants the vaccine, then the doctor will in the first Step bring the parent and child together to see if they can come to an agreement.
“If that is not possible, then if the child is considered competent – and this has existed for all vaccination programs in schools since the 1980s – if the child is considered competent, Gillick competence is called, then the child can get the vaccine.
“But these are very rare cases, and it is very important to remember that the school-age vaccination service is incredibly well equipped – clinicians are very adept at vaccinating 12-15 year olds in schools.”
Professor Anthony Harnden, vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), explained why there is a “minor health benefit” for children with no underlying health concerns from being vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Professor Harnden told the BBC Today program, “What we said on our committee is that vaccination has marginal health benefits.
“That’s because the risk of Covid for healthy young children is indeed very small, but the benefit of the vaccine is very small due to the low risk of a very rare side effect.
“We felt that the bottom line was that we couldn’t give advice based on health benefits alone.
“But the CMOs (Chief Medical Officers) have been rethinking this, and they have looked at much broader issues with educational factors that were way outside of our jurisdiction – like controlling school infections, social isolation, school closings – and she was who Opinion that the bottom line is that it is more beneficial to offer the vaccination. “
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