Children in Scotland aged between 12 and 15 will be offered one dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine from Monday.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the move at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.
It comes after the UK’s chief medical officers concluded that vaccination could reduce disruption to education and that it would be justified to do so.
Sturgeon explained that from Monday, September 20, drop-in clinics will be open for any 12 to 15-year-olds who have read the information that will be provided on vaccination.
The following week, the First Minister said, from September 27, letters will be sent to all 12 to 15-year-olds inviting them to an appointment at a drop-in centre or vaccination clinic.
She told MSP: “Members will recall that the JCVI had concluded that the benefit of vaccination, the health benefit for 12 to 15-year-olds, did outweigh any risks, but because this was marginal, they could not recommend a universal offer of vaccine to this age group on health grounds alone.
“However, they indicated that it would be appropriate for chief medical officers to consider whether any wider issues might tip the balance in the other direction.
“The CMOs have now done so and concluded that vaccination could reduce disruption to education and that taken together with the health benefits previously identified in the JCVI advice, extending the offer of vaccination to all 12 to 15-year-olds is justified.”
She continued: “Taking this broader view of the benefits and risks of vaccination, the CMOs are recommending that 12 to 15-year-olds should be offered one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
“This advice has been broadly endorsed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.”
Sturgeon added: “I can confirm to Parliament today that the Scottish Government welcomes and accepts this recommendation.
“We believe that vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds is important and we will therefore move to implement the advice as soon as possible.
“Our supplies of vaccine are adequate to allow us to do this.”
Sturgeon explained that material will be made available to provide “balanced information” to help young people and their parents to make informed choices.
“It is of course important to stress how important informed consent is. I know that many young people and their parents will have questions,” she said.
“Material will be made available online later this week. It will be appropriate to both young people and adults.
“It will seek to answer questions and provide balanced information to help young people and their parents make informed choices.”
Sturgeon said that parents and carers will be invited to accompany their children for their vaccination.
“I can confirm that from Monday 20 September, so Monday coming, drop in clinics will be open for any 12 – 15 year old who has read the information and – in discussion with parents and carers – decided they wish to be vaccinated,” she told Holyrood.
“It will of course be appropriate for parents or carers to accompany their children to clinics, and vaccinators will be on hand to answer any further questions or address any concerns.
“And then, starting in the following week – so week beginning 27 September – letters will be sent to all 12 to 15 year olds inviting them to an appointment at a drop-in centre or vaccination clinic.
“Again, parents and carers will be invited to accompany their children. And again the appointment will include an opportunity to ask questions and discuss concerns.
“Finally, after the scheduled community sessions, there will be a programme of vaccination in schools, to ensure that anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated, and who decides that they want to be, gets a further opportunity.”
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