England to offer COVID-19 vaccine to five to 11-year-olds

pharmafile | February 17, 2022 | News story | Business Services  

Children aged between five and 11 in England will be offered a low-dose vaccine, according to the government. This move is anticipated to help protect the “very small” number of children who become seriously ill with COVID-19.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid says the rollout will be “non-urgent”. Northern Ireland will also be following Wales and Scotland in offering young children the vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises governments across the UK, have been debating the evidence for immunising five to 11-year-olds. The body concluded that vaccination should go ahead to prevent a “very small number of children from serious illness and hospitalisation” in a future wave of COVID-19 infections.

Prof Wei Shen Lim, from the JCVI, said: “We’re offering this to five to 11-year-olds now, in order to future-proof their defences against a future wave of infection.”

Professor Lim also warned that other childhood vaccinations include the MMR and HPV campaigns, which have “fallen behind due to the pandemic”. Lim emphasised that it was “vital” that COVID-19 jabs did not disrupt these immunisations.

Two 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with at least 12 weeks between eac dose, will be administered to those whose parents decide to take up the offer.

The vaccine, which contains just a third of the adult dosage, has already been administered widely in other countries; the US has already given it to eight million children aged five to 11 years. Approximately six million children in the UK, in that age group, are due to be offered the jab.

Lina Adams

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