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13th Sep 2021

12-15 year olds to be offered COVID-19 vaccine

Charlie Herbert

The decision has been made by the UK’s chief medical officers.

The four chief medical officers for the UK have recommended that all children aged 12 to 15 years old should be offered one dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine.

The recommendation comes after the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said the vaccine only offered a “marginal” health benefit and therefore could not be recommended on health grounds alone.

On Monday, the chief medical officers (CMOs) said the decision was based primarily on the impact on education for that age group.

They considered the physical and mental health prospects for children in that age group, and concluded that the vaccination would help children not just in the short-term but the long-term as well

In a letter to ministers, the CMOs said: “The negative impact has been especially great in areas of relative deprivation which have been particularly badly affected by Covid-19.

“The effects of missed or disrupted education are even more apparent and enduring in these areas. The effects of disrupted education, or uncertainty, on mental health are well recognised. There can be lifelong effects on health if extended disruption to education leads to reduced life chances.”

When the JCVI made their decision, it said that ministers could take into account other factors such as school disruption. The CMOs decided that this tipped the balance in favour of offering young teens the jab as the virus is going to keep spreading over winter.

Children with health conditions and those living with clinically vulnerable people have already been told they can get the vaccine.

It will now be up to ministers to decide whether or not to accept the recommendation of the CMOs.

Related links:

Domestic vaccine passports scrapped, says Sajid Javid

First 12-15-year-olds to be vaccinated against Covid in Ireland

BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is 100% effective on kids aged 12-15