Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi will make a statement to Parliament on the Covid vaccine from 3.30pm – and he expects to announce children aged 12 to 17 will get the jab, but only if they’re vulnerable or live with someone who is
The UK is set to announce its vaccine rollout plan for children at or after 3.30pm today.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi will give a statement to Parliament after months of deliberation by scientific advisors.
This morning he confirmed children aged 12 to 17 will be given the jab – but only if they are in a vulnerable group, or live with someone who is.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are still reviewing evidence around vaccinating all over-12s.
The only children who will get the jab universally at this stage are 17-year-olds who turn 18 in less than three months, he said.
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Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News: “The JCVI have just delivered their advice. We’ll consider it after my morning round. we have a Covid-O meeting, and then I will make a statement to Parliament.
“But suffice to say they’ve looked very closely especially at children who are more vulnerable to serious infection from Covid;
“Children who live with adults who are more vulnerable to serious infection from Covid;
“And of course 17-year-olds who are close to becoming 18, so three months from their 18th birthday.
“We will take that advice and I’ll make a statement to Parliament later today.”
According to the Telegraph, all UK children over 12 could still be offered the vaccine by the end of the year – despite expectations the JCVI will stop short of recommending that today.
Asked when all children including healthy kids might get the jab, he confirmed: “The JCVI are continuing to review that.
“There’s now emerging data of all children being vaccinated in America and elsewhere with the first dose – not yet enough data with the second dose, so they want to look at all the data.
“There is a very rare signal around something called myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart.
“And on balance I think the JCVI are coming down on the side of continuing to review all children, healthy children, but actually wanted to protect the vulnerable children first.”
It comes despite pressure for the government to offer the vaccine to all teenagers to dampen spiralling cases.
The UK regulator approved the Pfizer jab six weeks ago for use in children aged 12 to 15. Those aged 16 or 17 can already be jabbed if they are in a vulnerable group.
But the JCVI have been locked in talks over the ethical dilemma of whether to immunise children against a disease that mainly affects their elders.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said yesterday the advice would cover “whether or not we should open up the vaccine programme in the first instance to those children who are just short of their 18th birthday, to those children who have particular vulnerabilities and those children who are in households where there are people who are particularly vulnerable”.
Mr Jenrick added that “seems a sensible way to proceed”, adding: “We will be looking carefully at their advice when we receive it – we expect it very soon.”
But the Tony Blair Institute yesterday recommended vaccinating all 12 to 17 year olds with the Pfizer jab until other vaccinates are approved for that age group, to help open up society.
SAGE member Prof Neil Ferguson – who said ‘Freedom Day’ could send cases surging to 200,000 a day – warned large numbers of teenagers would have to be either vaccinated or infected with Covid before the UK’s third wave can recede.
He told the BBC: “We won’t be able to reach herd immunity without significant immunity in people under 18.” Over the weekend it emerged all UK adults had now been offered a first dose.