The federal government is reportedly decided to push forward with COVID-19 vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds, regardless of advisers recommending in opposition to it.
The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation mentioned on Friday that, whereas it could widen the vaccination programme to incorporate extra youngsters in that age group with well being situations, it was not recommending the widespread vaccination of their healthy classmates.
However studies in numerous nationwide newspapers on Saturday mentioned that authorities ministers, who may have the ultimate say, are eager to supply vaccinations to all youngsters in that age group.
They may draw on the recommendation of the chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Eire earlier than “making a choice shortly”, Well being Secretary Sajid Javid mentioned.
The Instances reported that the vaccinations may start as quickly as subsequent week.
Earlier on Friday, the JCVI had mentioned that the coronavirus presents solely a small threat to wholesome youngsters and, due to this fact, the advantage of being vaccinated was not nice sufficient to assist mass vaccination for this age group.
The impartial medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company, has accepted the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for these aged 12 and over.
Efforts are already underneath method to recruit hundreds of vaccinators for faculties, and Training Secretary Gavin Williamson has beforehand mentioned he “very a lot hopes” the under-16s may very well be vaccinated.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of COVID-19 immunisation for the JCVI, mentioned: “The JCVI’s view is that general, the well being advantages from COVID-19 vaccination to wholesome youngsters aged 12 to fifteen years are marginally higher than the potential harms.
“Taking a precautionary strategy, this margin of profit is taken into account too small to assist common COVID-19 vaccination for this age group right now. The committee will proceed to evaluation security information as they emerge.”
Northern Eire Well being Minister Robin Swann mentioned he agrees the difficulty of a wider rollout “warrants additional consideration”.
Wales’s Well being Minister Eluned Morgan mentioned she had requested the nation’s chief medical officer to “present steerage on the earliest alternative on the scientific and wider well being advantages of vaccinating this age group”.
Scotland’s Well being Minister Humza Yousaf mentioned he had requested for the evaluation to be performed “as quickly as attainable”.
Geoff Barton, common secretary of the Affiliation of Faculty and School Leaders, mentioned he’s upset by the JCVI resolution to not advocate jabs for all 12 to 15-year-olds.
He added that whereas they respect it, it may imply it’s “tougher throughout the autumn time period and past to protect in opposition to instructional disruption attributable to transmission of the virus”.