Covid vaccine ‘could be given to children under 12 in spring’

Leaked proposals discuss vaccinating children aged between five and 11

Peter Stubley
Saturday 20 November 2021 19:04
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Vaccinating children could have a big effect, says specialist

Health officials are planning how to roll out coronavirus vaccines to children under 12 years old.

Leaked proposals suggest jabs could be given to those aged between five and 11 by next spring, according to The Sun.

Covid vaccines are currently licensed in the UK only for those aged 12 and over.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said extending the vaccine to younger children would only be authorised “if the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness are met”.

“As with children aged 12 and above, parents can be fully assured that for any potential authorisation in this age group, the safety of the children would be our top priority,” a spokesperson said.

The government would also have to consider recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI) before any rollout.

According to a “senior source” quoted by The Sun, “asking parents for permission to jab kids as young as five is in the schedule”.

However, they admitted “the plans could change”.

Asked about the report, a spokesperson for NHS England said: “The NHS regularly plans for how it would operationalise opening vaccines to more people so it is ready to extend the jab quickly when and if any decision is recommended by the JCVI.”

Vaccines for younger children have already been authorised in the US and Canada, where regulators approved the Pfizer jab for five to 11 year-olds at the beginning of November. Doses are a third of the amount given to teenagers and adults.

Last month the European Medicines Agency announced that it had started evaluating the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11. It is not expected to reach a decision until the end of December.

Healthy children aged 12 to 15 in the UK have been able to get a first Covid-19 vaccination since September. The JCVI has not yet advised on second jabs.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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