Covid-19 coronavirus vaccines for children are reportedly not launched in the UK in the near future.
This morning the Daily Telegraph says it understands that ministers are being advised not to distribute the vaccinations to children until more data is available on the risks.
It is reported that the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI) “is likely to advise against vaccinating under 15s in the immediate future”.
Members expressed “serious ethical concerns about vaccinating children as they rarely suffer from serious illness from Covid-19,” the front page of The Telegraph read.
“Nobody is going to give the green light to mass vaccination of children at this point,” a “Whitehall source” reportedly told The Telegraph.
The Pfizer / BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was approved in the UK earlier this month for use in children ages 12-15.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK had “enough supplies” to offer the vaccine to children 12 and older if recommended by the JCVI.
And he also signaled that his “first duty” was to get children vaccinated in the UK rather than donating cans to developing countries.
He told reporters: “My first role, my first duty as Secretary of Health for the UK is to keep the UK safe and secure.
“And although children are fortunately very rarely severely affected by Covid themselves, they can still pass the disease on – and that is my first duty.”
And the teaching unions have also called for a rollout to suppress the virus and keep schools open.
But the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group previously said it was “morally wrong” to offer Covid-19 vaccinations to children in affluent countries when high-risk groups in poorer countries remain unvaccinated.
And earlier this week, a new study found that young children are relatively protected from coronavirus because their bodies produce a strong immune response to it
The University of Bristol and the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children conducted research that found that infants, compared to adults, produce relatively high levels of antibodies and immune cells that protect against the virus.
Researchers say the results could help explain why younger children appear protected from the severe effects of Covid-19 at a time in their development when they may be more vulnerable.
The study was led by university and hospital scientists and pediatricians and is published in Cell Reports Medicine.
The study’s authors wanted to investigate why children were only slightly affected by the virus during the pandemic, especially since younger infants in particular are known to be susceptible to other respiratory viruses such as the flu.
The research team looked at immune responses in four infants under three months of age with confirmed Covid at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 along with their parents and other adult patients who had recovered from the virus.
Dr. Anu Goenka, clinical lecturer in pediatric infectious diseases and immunology at the University of Bristol, said the results could help develop vaccines that mimic child protection.
He said: “Through a detailed study of small infants who are relatively protected from severe Covid-19, we have shown what protective immunity looks like in terms of the composition of specific antibodies and immune cells against SARS-CoV. 2.
“This is very useful information for the design of future Covid-19 vaccines that could attempt to induce and mimic the signature of this protective immunity.”
The research team now wants to confirm its results on a larger group of infants and compare the immune responses of infants and adults during and at several points in time after their infection.