Children aged between five and 11 in England will be offered a low-dose COVID-19 vaccine, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.
Children are at a much lower risk of becoming severely ill fromCOVID-19, so the health benefits of vaccinating them are smaller than in other age-groups. Also, many will have some protection from already having caught the virus.
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‘I have accepted the advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to make a non-urgent offer of COVID-19 vaccines to all children aged 5 to 11 in England,’ said Mr Javid.
‘The NHS is already offering vaccines to at-risk children and those who live with immunosuppressed people in this age group. The JCVI advice follows a thorough review by our independent medicines regulator, the MHRA, which approved Pfizer’s paediatric vaccine as safe and effective for children aged 5 to 11.’
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The vaccine - which contains just a third of the adult dose - has already been used widely in other countries. The US has given it to eight million children in this age group. In total, about six million children in the UK in that age group will be offered the jab.
‘Children without underlying health conditions are at low risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and the priority remains for the NHS to offer vaccines and boosters to adults and vulnerable young people, as well as to catch-up with other childhood immunisation programmes,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.
‘The NHS will prepare to extend this non-urgent offer to all children during April so parents can, if they want, take up the offer to increase protection against potential future waves of COVID-19 as we learn to live with this virus.’