Four chief medical officers for UK recommend all children aged 12 to 15 years old should be offered Covid jab
The UK’s four chief medical officers have recommended that all children aged 12 to 15 years old should be offered a single dose of a Covid vaccine.
The decision comes after scientific advisers serving on the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said it was “of the opinion that the benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms” for healthy children.
Writing to UK health ministers, the CMOs of Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland announced their joint decision today.
They said while the health benefits of offering the jab were “less clear cut” than for adults, reducing disruption to education was important to “public health”.
The CMOs said the decision was based primarily on the impact on education for that age group.
They considered the physical and mental health and long-term prospects for children in that age group.
In the letter, the UK CMOs, said that in common with the clinical and wider public health community, they consider education “one of the most important drivers of improved public health and mental health, and have laid this out in their advice to parents and teachers in a previous joint statement.”
“Evidence from clinical and public health colleagues, general practice, child health and mental health consistently makes clear the massive impact that absent, or disrupted, face-to-face education has had on the welfare and mental health of many children and young people.”
“This is despite remarkable efforts by parents and teachers to maintain education in the face of disruption.”
“The effects of disrupted education, or uncertainty, on mental health are well recognised.”
“There can be lifelong effects on health if extended disruption to education leads to reduced life chances.”
“Whilst full closures of schools due to lockdowns is much less likely to be necessary in the next stages of the COVID-19 epidemic, UK CMOs expect the epidemic to continue to be prolonged and unpredictable.”
“Local surges of infection, including in schools, should be anticipated for some time. Where they occur, they are likely to be disruptive.”
“Every effort should be taken to minimise school disruption in policy decisions and local actions.”
“Vaccination, if deployed, should only be seen as an adjunct to other actions to maintain children and young people in secondary school and minimise further education disruption and therefore medium and longer term public health harm.”
“On balance however, UK CMOs judge that it is likely vaccination will help reduce transmission of COVID-19 in schools which are attended by children and young people aged 12 to 15 years.”
It will now be up to ministers whether to accept the recommendation of the four CMOs.
COVID-19 vaccinations for 12-15-year-olds with specific underlying health conditions and children and young people aged 12 to 17 living with immunosuppressed adults are already being offered in North Wales. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com