Health chiefs are expected to give the go-ahead for children to be stabbed for Covid-19 as early as next week, despite government advisors refusing to support a mass introduction.
The UK’s four chief medical officers, including Professor Chris Whitty, are due to examine further evidence at the request of Health Secretary Sajid Javid and his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Bromsgrove MP Mr Javid said the advice of the CMOs, following a report by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), will be taken “before a decision is made anytime soon”.
READ MORE: The Number of People in Birmingham Not Receiving a Covid Jab
The JCVI has announced that it will expand the Covid vaccination program to more children between the ages of 12 and 15 with pre-existing conditions, but does not recommend vaccinating all 12 to 15-year-olds – although ministers have indicated they are in favor of broader adoption.
It suggested that coronavirus poses very little risk to healthy children, so the marginal benefit of vaccination is not great enough to support mass vaccination.
The committee also said it was investigating the extremely rare occurrences of heart muscle inflammation known as myocarditis after Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
It is hoped that Prof. Whitty will report next week and that the introduction of vaccinations in schools can begin soon after the secondary school students return.
The JCVI’s decision means an inevitable delay in adoption and uncertainty for schools and parents as millions of children return to class for the fall semester.
However, it has recommended extending Covid vaccinations to children in the age group with severe diseases of the heart, lungs, kidneys or liver, as well as those with neurological diseases. The unprecedented move is the first time the JCVI has sought “further advice” on a decision.
JCVI vice chairman Professor Anthony Harnden said it was the committee’s decision to propose that the government seek further advice “since we do not have the expertise to assess the educational aspects”.
Mr Javid said he was “grateful” for the expert advice from the committee. He added, “I wrote with the health ministers of the four nations today to the chief medical officers to ask them to look at vaccination of 12-15 year olds from a broader perspective, as suggested by the JCVI.
“We will then consider the advice of the Chief Medical Officers, which builds on the advice of the JCVI, before making a decision shortly.”
Education unions warned that if all children were not given the trick, “time is of the essence” and classes would be interrupted.
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