Experts from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) will examine whether the Covid-Jabs program should be extended to all primary school children as part of their work, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.
The Pfizer / BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was approved for use in at-risk elementary school children in December.
The JCVI updated its advice after the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved vaccination for five to 11 year olds after a solid review of safety data.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The JCVI will of course keep this under review.
“You made the decision relatively recently to move in with children at risk.
“We would expect them to consider whether or not to go further, whether it is in the public health interest, but I have no plans to change that.”
A low-dose version of the vaccine has been approved for use in people aged 5 to 11 who belong to a clinical risk group or who live with an immunocompromised person (of any age). You should be offered a primary vaccination – usually two doses.
It is estimated that around 330,000 children will fall into the new eligible category.
Professor Anthony Harnden, vice chairman of the JCVI, said in December, “Children generally do not develop serious complications from Covid, so we looked at hospital admissions and complications data – admittedly most of it before Omicron.
“The data shows that only those with severe underlying illnesses developed severe complications more often, although this was quite rare even in this group of children.
“And of course, those living in a household with an immunocompromised person who may or may not have responded to the vaccine, and may have been shielding, are at potential risk of spreading an infection they brought into that household to that vulnerable member . ”And then have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.
“So there was also a direct benefit to these children from a mental health perspective.”
The new age-appropriate vaccine formulation (Comirnaty) is one third of the adult dose and it is recommended that eight weeks pass between the first and second dose.
Separately, in response to the Omicron threat, the JCVI has recommended offering booster vaccinations to 16-17 year olds – which are believed to affect roughly half a million teenagers.
The committee has also recommended booster vaccinations for children aged 12 to 15 who belong to a clinical risk group or a household contact of an immunocompromised person, as well as children aged 12 to 15 who are severely immunocompromised and a third elementary school had dose.
The booster dose for these groups should be 30 micrograms of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine given no earlier than three months after completing the basic course.
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