The UK’s Chief Medical Officers have approved COVID vaccination for young people aged between 12-15 years old, to begin by 22 September, 2021
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for the UK, described child COVID vaccination as an “important and useful tool.”
In July, the UK Government gave vulnerable, immunocompromised children access to the vaccine. Now, they are expanding access to the general population of that age group.
The new decision means that children will be able to access the COVID vaccine at their schools, and is expected to help control case numbers – which are expected to increase as high schoolers continue to go to in-person classes in October. The vaccines Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, says that the first doses are expected to be given by 22 September, 2021.
How many doses will they be given?
The age range of 12-15 year olds are expected to be given one dose only, largely in order to stop transmission to older, more vulnerable family members.
According to research by Moderna and Pfizer earlier this year, the mRNA vaccines work 100% effectively on this age group.
The Moderna vaccine was given to adolescents aged between 12 and just under 18, who were then compared to the placebo group. There were no cases of COVID-19 in the group given the vaccine, while the placebo group registered four cases of the virus. Currently, 12-17 year olds are already taking Pfizer in the US to be able to get back to schooling.
Who will have the final say?
Currently, there is a lot of fear among parents about their children taking the vaccine. If there are opposing viewpoints in a family, the child will have the final say about taking COVID vaccination.
In December, 2020, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) highlighted groups of children who were missing out on key vaccinations, even before the vaccine. These groups align with children who are vulnerable to struggling with remote learning.
The RCPCH commented: “Health professionals should be aware of groups at risk of low vaccine uptake. They include: children in large families, children in lone parent families, looked after children, children in mobile families including the travelling community, children in some ethnic minority groups, children with chronic conditions or disability.”
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