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COVID vaccine: Variants that beat jabs 'will appear' says expert

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COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children aged between 12 and 15 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 is not recommending mass vaccination of children aged between 12 and 15.

The programme is being extended from what had been considered the most at-risk children, to include children with chronic major heart, lung, buy pills aldara canada kidney, liver and neurological conditions.

It means about 200,000 more children will be invited for vaccines.

The decision comes exactly a week after the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed preparations were under way to ensure the NHS was ready to offer coronavirus jabs to all 12 to 15-year-olds in England from early September.

The department said they wanted to be “ready to hit the ground running”.

The department said they wanted to be “ready to hit the ground running”.

The four Chief Medical Officers will provide further advice on the COVID-19 vaccination of young people aged 12 to 15 with COVID-19 vaccines following the advice of the independent JCVI.

The independent medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for people aged 12 and over after they met strict standards of safety and effectiveness.

The JCVI has advised that the health benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms. It has advised the government to seek further input from the Chief Medical Officers on the wider impacts.

This includes the impact on schools and young people’s education, which has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

UK health ministers from across the four nations have today written to the Chief Medical Officers to request they begin the process of assessing the broader impact of universal COVID-19 vaccination in this age group.

They will now convene experts and senior leaders in clinical and public health to consider the issue. They will then present their advice to ministers on whether a universal programme should be taken forward.

People aged 12 to 15 who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 or who live with adults who are at increased risk of serious illness from the virus are already eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and are being contacted by the NHS, to be invited to come forward.

The JCVI has advised that this offer should be expanded to include more children aged 12 to 15, for example those with sickle cell disease or type 1 diabetes.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our COVID-19 vaccines have brought a wide range of benefits to the country, from saving lives and preventing hospitalisations, to helping stop infections and allowing children to return to school.

“I am grateful for the expert advice that I have received from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

“People aged 12 to 15 who are clinically vulnerable to the virus have already been offered a COVID-19 vaccine, and today we’ll be expanding the offer to those with conditions such as sickle cell disease or type 1 diabetes to protect even more vulnerable children.

“Along with Health Ministers across the four nations, I have today written to the Chief Medical Officers to ask that they consider the vaccination of 12 to 15 year olds from a broader perspective, as suggested by the JCVI.

“We will then consider the advice from the Chief Medical Officers, building on the advice from the JCVI, before making a decision shortly.”

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of COVID-19 Immunisation for the JCVI, said: “Children aged 12 to 15 years old with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 should be offered COVID-19 vaccination. The range of underlying health conditions that apply has recently been expanded.

“For otherwise healthy 12- to 15-year-old children, their risk of severe COVID-19 disease is small and therefore the potential for benefit from COVID-19 vaccination is also small. 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.”

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