The government’s advisory body Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on Monday issued its recommendation, advising that children “at increased risk of serious COVID-19 disease” are offered the vaccine.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently the only CCP virus vaccine that’s authorised for use on children over 12-year-old.
The groups the JCVI advised to be given the vaccine are children aged 12 to 15 with severe neuro disabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression, and multiple or severe learning disabilities.
Children aged 16 to 17 with underlying health conditions have already been offered vaccination under existing recommendations.
The JCVI also recommended children aged 12 to 17 get vaccinated if they live with an immunosuppressed person, as well as young adults who are about to turn 18 in three months “to ensure good uptake in newly turned 18-year-olds.”
The committee said that U.S. clinical trials suggested side effects in children aged 12 to 15 were “generally short lived and mild to moderate.”
It added that there’re currently limited real-world safety data of COVID-19 vaccines in children, but there have been “extremely rare reports of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart) following the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in millions of younger adults.”
The JCVI said they currently hold the view that the “minimal health benefits of offering universal COVID-19 vaccination to children do not outweigh the potential risks,” but Javid said the JCVI will “continue to review new data, and consider whether to recommend vaccinating under-18s without underlying health conditions at a future date.”
Office data said fewer than 30 children have died because of COVID-19 in the UK as of March this year.
After reviewing all currently available information and despite evidence suggesting a likely association between heart inflammation and the emergency use mRNA vaccine, the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) announced on July 9 that the benefits of the vaccines continue to outweigh the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis to the individual.
But some scientific experts have spoken out on the rush to vaccinate children with COVID-19 vaccines, saying that there needs to be more safety data.
Professor of Adolescent Health at the University College London’s Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, Russel Viner, said in an opinion article published in The Guardian, that public health officials should wait until there are adequate safety data in children before injecting them with COVID-19 vaccines.
The inventor of mRNA vaccine technology, Dr. Robert Malone, said that the risk-benefit ratio for children to get vaccinated doesn’t “look so good.”
Meiling Lee contributed to this report.