Children aged 5 to 11 at higher risk should get Covid jab – advisers

The MHRA made the recommendation after a new formulation of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved.

Children aged 5 to 11 at higher risk should get Covid jab – advisers iStock

Coronavirus vaccination has been recommended for children aged five to 11 who are at clinical risk.

The recommendation has been made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

It comes after the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved a new formulation of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use in that age category.

The regulator made the approval after a robust review of safety data which showed a positive benefit-risk profile.

Following the decision, the JCVI said that those aged five to 11 who are in a clinical risk group, or who are a household contact of of someone (of any age) who is immunosuppressed, should be offered a primary course of vaccination.

A primary course vaccination for these children should be with two 10-microgram doses of the age appropriate Pfizer formulation (Comirnaty) – a third of the adult dose, with eight weeks between the first and second doses.

Further advice regarding Covid vaccination for other five to 11-year-olds will be issued in due course after consideration of additional data, and on the Omicron variant more broadly.

Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, said: “Parents and carers can be reassured that no new vaccine for children would have been approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met.

“We have concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective for five to 11-year olds, with no new safety concerns identified.

“We have carefully considered all the available data and reached the decision that there is robust evidence to support a positive benefit-risk for children in this age group.

“Our detailed review of all side-effect reports to date has found that the overwhelming majority relate to mild symptoms, such as a sore arm or a flu-like illness.

“We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved Covid-19 vaccines and this includes children aged 5 to 11 years old.”

Separately, in response to the Omicron threat, the JCVI has advised that booster vaccinations should be offered to those aged 16 to 17 years, children aged 12 to 15 who are in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed, and children aged 12 to 15 years who are severely immunocompromised and who have had a third primary dose.

The UK recorded more than 100,000 new Covid cases in a day for the first time on Wednesday.

A further 106,122 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases were recorded as of 9am, the UK Government said.

It is the largest daily rise in confirmed infections since the pandemic began.

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