UK Government may push ahead with jabs for all 12 to 15-year-olds - despite advisers being against it

You are viewing content from Q Belfast 96.7/102.5. Would you like to make this your preferred location?

By Sky News

The UK government is reportedly determined to push ahead with COVID-19 vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds, despite advisers recommending against it.

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation said on Friday that, while it would widen the vaccination programme to include more children in that age group with health conditions, it was not recommending the widespread vaccination of their healthy classmates.

But reports in a number of national newspapers on Saturday said that government ministers, who will have the final say, are keen to offer vaccinations to all children in that age group.

They will draw on the advice of the chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland before "making a decision shortly", Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.

The Times reported that the vaccinations could begin as soon as next week.

Doctor Alan Stout is chair of the BMA committee here in Northern Ireand:

Earlier on Friday, the JCVI had said that the coronavirus presents only a small risk to healthy children and, therefore, the benefit of being vaccinated was not great enough to support mass vaccination for this age group.

The independent medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, has approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for those aged 12 and over.

Efforts are already under way to recruit thousands of vaccinators for schools, and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has previously said he "very much hopes" the under-16s could be vaccinated.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of COVID-19 immunisation for the JCVI, said: "The JCVI's view is that overall, the health benefits from COVID-19 vaccination to healthy children aged 12 to 15 years are marginally greater than the potential harms.

"Taking a precautionary approach, this margin of benefit is considered too small to support universal COVID-19 vaccination for this age group at this time. The committee will continue to review safety data as they emerge."

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann said he agrees the issue of a wider rollout "warrants further consideration".

Pictured - Health Minister Robin Swann

More from Q Radio Local News


Join the Thank Q Club

Sign up for the Thank Q Club and receive exclusive offers, fun competitions and amazing prizes - it's quick and easy to do!

Sign Up Log In

Listen on the go

Download the Q Radio app to keep listening, wherever you are! It's available on Apple and Android devices.

Download from the App Store Download from Google Play