The Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI) has announced that children aged between five to 11-year-olds in England will be offered a low dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. It comes after months of discussion by the (JCVI).
The JCVI reportedly decided that immunising children in this age group by jabbing vaccines is somehow beneficial, but not as much as older age groups.
This is due to the fact that 5-to-11 years old children are less likely to become severely ill from COVID-19, as well as the fact that many children have already been exposed to the virus. However, vaccinating children as soon as possible will protect a certain number of children from having serious sickness in future waves of infection.
According to JCVI, it is anticipated that vaccinating 1 million children against COVID-19 will prevent 98 hospitalisations if the next Covid-19 wave is severe and about 17 hospitalisations if the next wave is relatively mild, like Omicron.
Moreover, the rollout of vaccines for children aged between 5 to 11 years old in England will commence from April in pharmacies, GP surgeries and vaccination centres. The vaccine, which is one-third of an adult dose, has already been widely used around the world. Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary of the UK, said that the programme would be “non-urgent”, and it will be up to parents to decide whether they want their children to be jabbed or not.
He also further stated that “As we learn to deal with this virus, the NHS will prepare to extend this non-urgent offer to all children during April so parents can, if they want, can take advantage of the offer to boost protection against potential future waves of covid-19.”
The move comes after the Welsh and Scottish administrations announced this week that they would provide vaccinations to children aged between 5 to 11. Northern Ireland has now said it will do the same also.