Ministers to make Freedom Day decision on teenagers getting Covid jabs

Children will only be vaccinated if they are vulnerable as watchdog advises Government that more evidence is needed to jab under-18s

  • Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to say no jabs for children
  • Instead, their guidance will suggest those aged between 12 and 15 who are vulnerable to the virus, and those almost 18, should be offered a vaccine 
  • Whitehall source explained mass inoculation for children remains ‘under review’
  • Previously, scientists had recommended teenage jabs to reach herd immunity 

British children will not be offered a Covid jab as part of a mass roll-out and only those who are listed as clinically vulnerable can expect to receive a jab, it has been revealed.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is reported to have advised ministers against providing a mass vaccine programme for children that had previously been mooted, the Sunday Telegraph reports.

Experts are suggesting more data is needed on the impact of using vaccines on children before progressing with any firm recommendation. 

Instead, JCVI guidance will suggest those aged between 12 and 15 with serious health conditions and those who are just three months away from celebrating their 18th birthdays can be offered a Covid-19 shot.

The UK regulator Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency had previously approved the Pfizer jab for use in 12 to 15-year-olds. 

 British children will not be offered a Covid jab as part of a mass roll-out and only those who are listed as clinically vulnerable can expect to receive a jab, it has been revealed Above: A 13-year-old receives his first Pfizer jab in New York.

A Whitehall source told the Sunday Telegraph that potential mass vaccinations for children will ‘remain under review’, as ministers plan to announce a decision on Freedom Day.  

Previously, some UK scientists had claimed herd immunity could be reached if teenagers across the country were vaccinated. 

Others had argued that the data had to be ‘incredibly robust’ before children were vaccinated owing to their low health risks from catching Covid.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) insisted no decisions had been made after it was reported that ministers were set to come out against mass vaccinations for teenagers.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that guidance due to be issued on Monday was expected to recommend the vaccine is offered to vulnerable 12 to 15-year-olds and to 17-year-olds who are within three months of turning 18.

The paper said the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is believed to have advised against the rollout of vaccines to all children until there is further evidence on the risks involved.

A DHSC spokesman said: ‘The Government will continue to be guided by the advice of the JCVI and no decisions have been made by ministers on whether people aged 12 to 17 should be routinely offered Covid-19 vaccines.’

Those aged 16 and considered clinically vulnerable to the virus can already receive their vaccine in the UK – as part of group six (at-risk group adults) of the roll-out. 

Over-12s in the US, Israel and France are already able to get coronavirus vaccines.

But officials in the US have raised concerns that Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines could be linked with heart inflammation.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, which polices the safety of drugs in the UK, has already approved the Pfizer jab for 12 to 15-year-olds.

US health chiefs earlier this month identified 226 plausible cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in under-30s in the US that had received Pfizer or Moderna jabs.

They said most of the cases were identified in boys and young men, but has urged everyone to get the vaccine as it is not clear whether the conditions are caused by the jabs.

The MHRA, which regulates medicines in the UK, is ‘closely monitoring’ reports of the link. 

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