The Scottish Government will move “as quickly as possible” if the Covid-19 vaccine is recommended for children aged 12 and over, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
Giving an update on Covid in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, the First Minister acknowledged that vaccinating children could help to provide them with greater protection and minimise any further disruption to schooling.
And Sturgeon said that planning has already begun in the event that the JCVI gives the green light to extend the vaccination programme to that age group.
It comes after the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last week approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use among 12 to 15-year-olds.
“The Scottish Government is now awaiting advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the vaccination of children in those age groups,” Sturgeon told MSPs.
“I’m sure everyone will agree that it is vital that we rely on expert advice in all of our vaccination decisions.
“However, vaccination may well be an important way of giving children greater protection, minimising any further disruption to schooling, and further reducing community transmission of the virus.
“And so I can confirm that if the JCVI recommends the use of the vaccine for children aged 12 and over, we will move as quickly as possible to implement the advice.
“For the moment, however, we continue to focus on vaccinating all adults as quickly as possible.”
Sturgeon explained that planning has already started in the event that the JCVI gives the go-ahead to extend the vaccination programme to younger people.
She said: “We are already doing the planning to extend the vaccination programme to children over 12, should the JCVI recommend that.
“Of course, it’s the MHRA that opines on the safety on balance of the vaccination. The JCVI have got to look at the clinical implications of vaccination, the priorities in terms of order of the population versus the supply and other matters like that.
“All of us across the UK four nations follow the JCVI advice and it’s right and proper that we do so, but in anticipation of the JCVI giving the go-ahead to vaccination of over-12s, we’ve already started that planning.”