Chief Medical Officers to consider vaccinating all healthy young people aged 12 to 15 despite government advisers ruling it out
The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has not recommended that all young people aged 12-15 are given the covid-19 vaccination.
It has instead asked ministers to seek further advice from the UK’s chief medical officers on the wider potential benefits of vaccination.
The JCVI has advised that the health benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms.
A JCVI said: “However, the margin of benefit is considered too small to support universal vaccination of healthy 12 to 15-year-olds at this time.”
It said: “It is not within the JCVI’s remit to consider the wider societal impacts of vaccination, including educational benefits.”
Chief Medical Officers have been asked to look at the wider social impacts such as on schools and the disruption to young people’s education and if giving the Covid vaccine to 12 to 15 year olds would reduce this.
UK health ministers from across the four nations have written to the Chief Medical Officers to request they begin the process of assessing the broader impact of universal COVID-19 vaccination in this age group.
In a written statement Welsh Government Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “ On children and young people aged 12-15 who do not have underlying health conditions, the JCVI have advised that the benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms but that there is considerable uncertainty regarding the magnitude of the potential harms.”
“From an individual health benefit perspective, they feel the margin of benefit, is considered too small to support advice on a universal programme of vaccination of otherwise healthy 12-15-year-old children at this time.”
“They do however acknowledge that there may be wider issues to consider which are outside the remit of the JCVI to evaluate, such as wider societal impacts, including educational benefits, where the CMO would be better placed to advise, with representation from JCVI.”
“I have asked my Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to provide guidance at the earliest opportunity on the clinical and wider health benefits of vaccinating this age group.”
“Our intention, as it has been from the start of the pandemic, is to follow the clinical and scientific evidence.”
“Decisions on the vaccination of all 12-15 year olds will be made on the basis of the CMO’s advice, in addition to the advice provided by the JCVI.”
“In the meantime, our NHS has planned and stands ready to implement any further decisions taken.”
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