The NHS has drawn up plans to start vaccinating 12 year-olds from the first week schools go back. The Telegraph has more.
Health officials have said children would not need parental consent to be jabbed under the programme of vaccination in schools.
On Wednesday, NHS trusts were told to prepare for the “possible rollout of a 12 to 15 year-old healthy child vaccination programme commencing September 6th”. Emails sent by NHS England’s regional offices, seen by the Telegraph, say trusts should draw up plans by 4pm on Friday.
The timetable – with the first jabs administered in less than two weeks – comes despite the fact that the Government’s advisers on vaccination have not so far recommended such a roll-out. On Wednesday night, the Department of Health and Social Care insisted no decision to roll out jabs for 12 to 15 year-olds had been taken.
Until now, Government advisers have said there is insufficient data to support such a move, but further research on the safety of jabs in this age group is about to be published, feeding into their review of the evidence.
In June, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the Pfizer jab for 12 to 15 year-olds in Britain. Last month, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced that youngsters between those ages would only receive vaccines if they suffered from particular health conditions.
Jabs are currently being offered to those aged 16 and 17 following a recommendation from the committee earlier this month. They are only being offered one dose, with the JCVI yet to make a decision on whether or when a second should be given.
The caution is linked to concerns over a rare side effect called myocarditis – a type of heart inflammation – which is more likely to be triggered by second doses, and the NHS plans for the rollout to younger children also suggest that only one Pfizer dose should be given.
The emails from one of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s regional offices, sent to trusts on Wednesday, say: “In preparation for the possible announcement of a 12 to 15 year-old healthy child vaccination programme commencing September 6th, we have been tasked by our national team to request some additional detailed planning information from all systems.”
Trusts are asked to provide details of how they could vaccinate at least 75% of children aged 12 to 15 by November 1st.
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Stop Press: Telegraph columnists Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan discuss this new development in their latest Planet Normal podcast.