When deciding whether children should be vaccinated against the Covid-19 coronavirus or not, “ethical dilemmas” should be considered, said an expert.
Professor Anthony Harnden, vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), said while a “very small minority” of children are severely affected by the virus, children “typically” do not develop serious illnesses.
He told BBC Breakfast, “I think the vast majority of the benefits will not be for children, but an indirect benefit for adults in terms of preventing transmission and protecting adults who for whatever reason have not been vaccinated against the vaccine and so it poses a lot of ethical dilemmas as to whether to vaccinate children to protect adults. “
He added: “We need to be absolutely certain that the benefits to them (children) and possibly to society far outweigh the risks.”
He said the JCVI will likely offer the government a number of options, referring to the question of whether vaccines should be shared around the world rather than given to children in the UK.
He said, “There is the other broader ethical question of whether you are vaccinating children in this country or donating this vaccine internationally to low- and middle-income countries where they still have a vulnerable adult population who has not been vaccinated.”
Yesterday, the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) approved the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine for use by 12-15 year olds.
The MHRA said the vaccination was “safe and effective” for this age group and the decision followed a “rigorous review”.