England Winding Down Offering COVID-19 Vaccines to Children Under 12

England Winding Down Offering COVID-19 Vaccines to Children Under 12
13-year-old boy from Newcastle receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Excelsior Academy in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on Sept. 22, 2021. (Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Owen Evans

Authorities are winding down COVID-19 jabs for children aged 5–11, except for those in clinical risk groups, as they said this offer was only applicable to children who only recently turned five years old.

In line with previous plans, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed that children who had not turned five by the end of August were not offered a routine COVID-19 vaccination.

That’s in contrast to the United States, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that virtually all children aged 6 months and up get a vaccine.

One-off, Non-Urgent Programme

The NHS Green Book, which has the latest information on vaccines and vaccination procedures, was updated to state, “This one-off programme applies to those aged 5 to 11 years, including those who turn five years of age before the end of August 2022.

“Subject to further clarification, on-going eligibility in 2022/23, after the one off-programme, is expected to be for children in the academic years where children are aged 11 or 12 years.”

The details correspond to a decision by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in February 2022.

In April, all children aged between five to 11 were offered two 10 microgram doses, a third of the strength given to all over the age of 12, of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses. This was reduced to 8 weeks for children who have medical conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 or who live with someone with a weakened immune system.

Only Applicable

Gavin Dabrera, Deputy Director of COVID-19 Vaccines and Epidemiology at UKHSA, confirmed to The Epoch Times by email the end of one-off programme but said that “there has been no change to the offer of COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 5–11 years.”

“In February 2022, the JCVI advised a one-off, non-urgent offer for children aged 5–11 years who were not in clinical risk groups. From the outset, this offer was only applicable to children who turned five years old by 31 August 2022. The NHS in England vaccinates in line with this guidance and eligible children who turned five by 31 August can still come forward for the jab,” said Dabrer.

The UKHSA statements make clear that children who turned five after Aug. 31 are no longer eligible for the vaccine. However, the statements do not appear to clarify whether the vaccine is still being offered to other children under 12. The UKHSA has not responded to a request for clarifications on this point, for example, whether a 10-year-old would now be eligible.

“The JCVI continually reviews the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, including the offer to 5–11s, and any updates to its advice will be announced in due course,” added Dabrera.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.
Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.
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