A UK Covid-19 vaccine launch is expected to be carried out for healthy 12-15 year olds, although the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) advises against it.
Ministers are likely to approve the stitches for all 12 to 15 year olds after asking UK chief medical officers to review evidence of mass introduction, PA reports.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has decided against it to support the step solely for health reasons, since Covid-19 poses such a low risk for younger adolescents.
However, Professor Chris Whitty and the three other Chief Medical Officers in the UK are examining the broader benefits of vaccinating the age group, such as:
The government is waiting for their advice before taking a final decision, but ministers have signaled that they are interested in approving a broader rollout.
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), warned that without a broader introduction, there could be “many disruptions” in education, as he estimates that around six million children are not infected with the coronavirus .
“It is very difficult. You’re going to have a broader perspective than the JCVI, I think that’s right, ”he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
“I think we need to consider the broader impact of Covid on children and their educational and developmental achievements.
“In the UK it’s hard to say now how many children have not become infected, but it’s probably about half that, that’s about six million children a lot of children who are going to get infected, and that’s going to be a lot of disruption in the months to come mean in schools.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, the JCVI’s chairman for Covid-19 vaccinations, said the group believes that the benefits of vaccinating the age group are “slightly greater than the potential harm,” but that the benefits are “too little.” to support a universal introduction at this stage.
However, several newspapers reported that government insiders were hyping the likelihood of later approval of the program.
On Friday, the JCVI approved an expansion of the vaccination program to include a further 200,000 children between the ages of 12 and 15 who suffer from underlying health conditions.
However, they stopped recommending the full introduction after investigating possible side effects, such as the extremely rare occurrences of myocarditis known as myocarditis following Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations.
While the disease can result in short hospital follow-up times, followed by normally rapid recoveries, the JCVI concluded that medium to long-term outcomes are still uncertain and more follow-up time is needed to get a clearer picture.
Former senior scientific advisor Professor Sir Mark Walport said it was right to consider the broader benefits of vaccinating children as he suggested that the potential for side effects might be outweighed by the benefits.
He said that children’s health “is also influenced by their social environment, their ability to go to school, what happens in the family, and therefore there are broader factors”.
“All of the evidence is that rates of myocarditis, myocarditis and pericarditis in the same population are at least the same and likely significantly higher when they get coronavirus,” he told Today.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid wrote to the four UK chief medical officers asking them to re-examine the evidence and “look at the matter from a broader perspective”.
The decision came a week after the Department of Health and Welfare confirmed that preparations were being made to ensure the NHS is ready to offer coronavirus vaccinations to all 12 to 15 year olds in England from early September.
The ministry said it wanted to be “ready to get started right away.”
Ministers have indicated that they are in favor of the universal program and are urging the JCVI to take a quick decision.
On Thursday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he found it “deeply comforting” to have the choice of whether to have their children stabbed or not to vaccinate anyone under the age of 16.
The government has announced that if all 12-15 year olds are offered a vaccine, parental or caregiver consent will be sought, as is the case with other school vaccination programs.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said he was disappointed with the JCVI’s decision not to recommend jabs for all ages.
He added that while the union respects this, it could mean that “during the fall semester and beyond, it will be more difficult to protect yourself from educational disruptions caused by the transmission of the virus”.
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