Children in the UK could start getting the Covid vaccine from August, much earlier than expected. Ministers are awaiting safety data on a child vaccine study before making their final decisions. The Telegraph has the story.
Children will start getting the Covid vaccine as early as August under provisional Government plans to push for maximum immunity from the virus, the Telegraph can reveal.
Two sources involved in preparations said that was the soonest point at which Britons under the age of 18 would be given the jabs – months earlier than expected.
Safety data on the critical child vaccine study being run by Oxford University – on which ministers are waiting before making their final decisions – is expected shortly, with its conclusions due in June or July.
Israel, the country with the highest proportion of vaccinated citizens, is already giving jabs to 16 and 17-year-olds after deeming it safe.
The plan is not without its opposers, but its supporters are likely to receive much more of a hearing.
Supporters of the plan see the mass vaccination of children as a way to minimise the spread of infection, but critics note the relatively low risk Covid poses to youngsters and the still-emerging safety data.
If the current rate of roughly three million first doses a week is handed out in August, it is possible that most of the 11 million school-age children could be vaccinated before the autumn term.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said “no decisions have been made on whether children should be offered vaccinations”.
Oxford University’s ongoing child vaccine study is testing the AstraZeneca jab on 300 children aged six to 17. It is currently expected that parents will have to give consent for their children to be vaccinated but how inconceivable is it that no choice will be granted on the matter, given that the Government hopes to make vaccination mandatory for care home staff (as a start)?
Exemptions are expected if a rollout to children is given the final sign-off. It is also likely that parents would have to give consent – currently the position for teenagers in Israel.
Some are already demanding that vaccination should be mandatory for children, including Sean O’Grady, the Associate Editor of the Independent.
I would vaccinate every child old enough to receive it, as a condition of receiving a state education. …
Given the fact that we are still nowhere near herd immunity for the current coronavirus variants, and await with trepidation new – and potentially even more deadly – mutations; this is a moment for determined action. …
Of course, in the end, we do not want to live in a country where gangs of officials grab unvaccinated children or adults, wrestle them to the ground and forcibly inject them. But we do want to live in a country where rights are balanced by responsibilities, and where mutual obligations need to be fulfilled.
Incentives and penalties, taxes and fines, court orders and conditions of employment – restrictions on liberty – are commonplace in our daily lives; for the protection of the community as a whole. If we want to drive the wrong way down a motorway, then there are legal consequences for doing so.
The Telegraph’s report is worth reading in full.
Stop Press: The Prime Minister has likely ruffled the feathers of some EU leaders by declaring that “the reason we have the vaccine success is because of capitalism, because of greed my friends”. The Sun has the story.
But he risked reigniting tensions with the continent last night as he boasted about how Britain stole the march.
He told MPs at the 1922 Committee: “The reason we have the vaccine success is because of capitalism, because of greed my friends.”
He later added: “Actually I regret saying it.”
Worth reading in full.