Covid-19 vaccines for healthy children aged between 12 and 15-years-old are not being recommended by the Government’s vaccine advisers.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has announced that it is widening the so-far limited rollout to more children in this age bracket who have underlying health conditions.
But it said governments should seek further advice before making a decision on mass vaccination of children aged between 12 and 15-years-old.
Scottish health secretary Humza Yousaf said he and the other health ministers across the UK had asked their respective chief medical officers (CMOs) to “rapidly explore” the wider impact of the decision.
He said: “JCVI recognise marginal net benefit of vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds but do not recommend universal vaccination based on precautionary approach when it comes to children.
“I thank [the] JCVI for [the] advice… I have spoken to other health ministers across [the] UK and we have asked our respective CMOs to rapidly explore wider educational and societal impacts in relation to vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds – as per [the] JCVI’s suggestion.”
The programme is being extended from what had been considered the most at-risk children, to include children with chronic major heart, lung, kidney, liver and neurological conditions.
It means about 200,000 more children will be invited for vaccines.
The First Minister said: “In light of today’s JCVI advice, [the Scottish Government] and the other UK nations have asked our CMOs to consider wider issues, such as educational impact, in relation to vaccination of all 12 to 15-year-olds and offer further advice as quickly as possible.”
The decision comes exactly a week after the Scotland’s national clinical director said the country would be “ready to go” with a Covid vaccination programme for 12 to 15-year-olds as soon as experts give the go-ahead for them to be jagged.
Professor Jason Leitch said: “We are ready for when that advice comes, the vaccination programme is ready to go.”
Teenagers aged 16 and 17 are already being given the Pfizer vaccine, in line with JCVI advice.