Announcement on Covid jabs for healthy children expected
If the programme gets the green light, more than three million children will be eligible for the jab
Coronavirus vaccines for healthy children are expected to be approved by the UK’s four chief medical officers (CMOs) on Monday.
The CMOs were asked to assess the societal benefit of vaccinating 12-to-15-year-olds, including the impact the pandemic has had on education.
It is expected the advice to ministers will be published later on Monday, sources told the PA news agency, and the BBC reported the recommendation was to approve rolling out the jabs.
If they give the programme the green light then more than three million children will be eligible for the jab.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) did not recommend mass vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds.
JCVI experts said that Covid-19 presents a very low risk for healthy children so vaccination would only offer a marginal benefit.
They said the benefit to health was too small to support a universal vaccination programme, but suggested that the Government may wish to take further advice on the issue, including the educational impacts.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are already approved for use among children aged 12 and over by the UK medicines regulator.
But only children with specific health conditions are currently eligible for the jab, as well as those who live in the same house as someone who is immunocompromised.
The JCVI, which made its recommendations at the start of September, also said it had investigated the extremely rare events of inflammation of the heart muscle, known as myocarditis, after Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
While the condition can result in short periods of hospital observation, followed by typically swift recoveries, the JCVI has concluded the medium to long-term outcomes are still uncertain and more follow-up time is needed to get a clearer picture.
The NHS in England has already been asked to prepare to roll out vaccines for all 12 to 15-year-olds in the event that the CMOs recommend the programme.
Asked about the prospect of vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds on a visit to a British Gas training academy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I think you should really wait and see, wait for what the chief medical officers have to say.