In a pleasant surprise, the JCVI, the U.K.’s vaccine regulator, has decided not to recommend that healthy 12-15 year-olds get vaccinated due to the risk of side effects. The BBC has more.
The U.K.’s vaccine advisory body has refused to give the green light to vaccinating healthy children aged 12-15 years-old on health grounds alone.
But the JCVI said the Government should consider wider issues including disruption to schools.
Ministers across the U.K. have asked chief medical officers to look at whether that tips the balance.
Meanwhile, an extra 200,000 teens with underlying conditions will now be eligible for two doses.
Doctors identified that children with chronic heart, lung and liver conditions were at much higher risk of Covid than healthy children. A group of 150,000 children with conditions such as severe neurodisabilities, Down’s syndrome and severely weakened immune systems are already eligible.
This is out of a total of three million children in this age group across the U.K.
The decision on healthy children was based on concern over an extremely rare side effect of the Pfizer vaccine which causes heart inflammation.
But as children are at such low risk from the virus, they decided that vaccination would offer only “marginal gain” and, therefore, there was “insufficient” evidence to offer mass vaccination for this age group.
Stop Press: A journalist colleague passed on some information from a source inside the vaccination programme. Sounds grimly plausible. Below is a summary:
- An announcement to be made to the public this Sunday confirming that vaccination of healthy 12-15 year-olds WILL go ahead. Likely to be a decision made by Chris Whitty and the other CMOs, given the JCVI’s position and the fact that no senior politician wants to take responsibility for it.
- The start date for first jabs in arms has been delayed until September 13th, a week longer that originally planned. The end date by which time we are required to have offered a Pfizer jab to all healthy 12-15 year olds remains November 1st. Uptake of 75% is expected, although I think that’s a little high, particularly in light of today’s JCVI announcement. We have had to complete a planning return setting out numbers of schools and vaccinations planned for the week beginning Sept 13th – there’s going to be a big push to maximise the number of vaccinations given in schools during the first week, consent be damned.
- All relevant documents including those relating to consent forms, consent process, national protocols, etc. will only be released to NHS Trusts on Monday Sept 6th, the day after the Whitty announcement is expected. It will be interesting to see how they get around the Green Book consent protocols.
- There is some consternation within the programme that NHS trusts only found out from the BBC, not the national team leaders, that the top-up third dose (not the booster) for the immunologically suppressed will go ahead from Sept 6th. The booster programme is still planned to start on Sept 20th with priority for care homes and health and social care staff likely to be first.
Stop Press 2: MailOnline has more on this story – much more.