Vulnerable young people have been advised to take the coronavirus vaccination when offered later this year.
The announcement comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that young people under the age of 18 should be given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – the only vaccine that has been authorised for children in the UK.
According to the new guidance, this includes:
- Children aged 12 to 15 with severe neurodisabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities.
- Children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person (to indirectly protect vulnerable household contacts who are at higher risk of serious disease from COVID-19).
This comes in addition to young people aged 16 and 17 with underlying health conditions who have already been offered the jab.
If you do not fall into one of these groups, the JCVI is not currently recommending that you receive the vaccination. However, those approaching their 18th birthday may be offered a vaccine when appropriate.
Commenting on the new guidance, Professor Anthony Harnden, Deputy Chair of the JCVI, said: “The primary aim of the vaccination programme has always been to prevent hospitalisations and deaths. Based on the fact that previously well children, if they do get COVID-19, are likely to have a very mild form of the disease, the health benefits of vaccinating them are small.
“The benefits of reducing transmission to the wider population from children are also highly uncertain, especially as vaccine uptake is very high in older people who are at highest risk from serious COVID-19 infection.
“We will keep this advice under review as more safety and effectiveness information becomes available.”
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