Offering a Covid jab to children is the right decision – now the challenge will be ensuring take-up

Editorial: Health officials need to win the support of parents and guardians if the vaccine rollout among 12- to 15-year-olds is to be a success

Tuesday 14 September 2021 00:58

As Professor Chris Whitty always stresses, all medical interventions are carried out on the basis of weighing the risks. In the case of vaccinations, the estimation of risks and benefits also has to take into account considerations related to the wider community.

Arguably, the four chief medical officers for the UK nations – Prof Whitty for England among them – should have taken into account building herd immunity across the entire population – young and old. While there is now an impressive rate of vaccination among adults, the shortfall among children has left Britain some way behind other western nations.

On this occasion, perhaps because the exercise is purely confined to children, and therefore taking into account the special political and parental sensitivities around them, all decisions have been confined to the welfare of children individually, and as a group. Individually, the risks to children of serious illness from Covid are slight; but the risks derived from lockdowns as they impact parents’ work and schools are much more apparent.

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