Britain’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Chris Whitty, on Monday recommended that the COVID-19 vaccine be offered to children aged 12 to 15, saying there should be less disruption to their education. They will benefit from it.
More than a week ago, Britain’s Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization, the panel advising British health departments on vaccination policies, issued a statement saying there was a “margin of profit” for them to vaccinate children of those ages. The government was too young to recommend it. Do this
But on Monday, Whitty, along with his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, told reporters that they are recommending to their respective health ministers that the age group be given a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They have not yet decided whether to give the students a second dose.
Whitty stressed that vaccination should be “a proposal”, not a mandate, adding, “We don’t think it’s a panacea. It’s not a silver bullet… but we think it’s an important and potential It is a particularly useful additional tool to help reduce the public health impacts that come through educational disruption.”
Whitty said the CMO has shared its recommendations with its ministers, and it is now up to ministers to decide how to respond.
The United States, Israel and some European countries have introduced vaccinations for children more widely, putting pressure on the British government to follow suit.
Britain has experienced more than 134,000 deaths from COVID-19, and the rapid onset of its vaccination rollout has been slow, with 81% of people over 16 receiving two vaccine doses.
Some of the information in this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.