Source: ET

Children aged 12 to 15 should be offered a first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the UK’s four chief medical officers have said.

The decision, made on Monday, takes into account the impact of the pandemic on children’s education as well as the risks to their mental health from missing school.

The move means that around three million children could be eligible for the jab and comes despite the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) deciding not to recommend mass vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds.

It is expected the vaccinations will be given through schools, PA Media reports.

The JCVI said Covid-19 presents a very low risk for healthy children and vaccination would only offer a marginal benefit.

But they suggested that the wider issues, such as education, should be taken into consideration and examined by CMOs.

In their advice to the Government, the UK’s CMOs said they were recommending vaccines on “public health grounds” and it was “likely vaccination will help reduce transmission of Covid-19 in schools”.

They added: “Covid-19 is a disease which can be very effectively transmitted by mass spreading events, especially with Delta variant.

“Having a significant proportion of pupils vaccinated is likely to reduce the probability of such events which are likely to cause local outbreaks in, or associated with, schools.

“They will also reduce the chance an individual child gets Covid-19. This means vaccination is likely to reduce (but not eliminate) education disruption.”