A senior government Covid advisor has supported calls for 12 to 15 year olds to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Ministers are likely to approve the vaccinations this week, although the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has chosen not to support the move on health grounds alone.
Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag) that advises the government, told the BBC he was “a little surprised” by the JCVI’s decision.
He said, “We know the virus is very prevalent in this age group and if we can lower the rates and possibly prevent further flare-ups later in the winter, then this is the time group that needs to get immune.
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“And the best way to get immune is to get a vaccination, and there has never been as much information as this in the past. To think that there hasn’t been enough research is completely wrong. ”
Prof. Openshaw added, “I think the public health benefits are very, very important, and we have to take the general view that if we don’t check the rates of infection in this particular segment of the population, it will be very, very difficult lower. ”to prevent further large repetitions (of Covid-19).
“I would say that teenagers are often some of the most altruistic and generous people in society. They often think very deeply about these moral and ethical issues and want to protect others too.
“So I would think that a lot of teenagers, when they see the evidence around, would actually rather be vaccinated.”
Any step in hunting down younger teenagers would be considered controversial given that Covid-19 is such a low risk for this age group.
UK senior physicians are examining the broader benefits of age group vaccination before a decision is confirmed.
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