Schoolkids 'shouldn't get Covid jab without more data', experts say

Ministers will be warned against vaccinating school children against Covid until there is more data on the risk, it has been reported.

Experts on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are expected to make recommendations against the rollout being extended to under-18s in the immediate future.

The committee is reportedly preparing a statement for release by as early as this week after a meeting held on Tuesday.

At a meeting, members are said to have voiced ethical concerns about vaccinating kids.

Currently, the mass inoculation project is open to all adults aged over 23, and reports say that anyone aged over 18 will be made eligible in the coming days.

School children in a classroom
People aged over 23 are now being offered a jab

The Daily Telegraph reports that sources claim more data is needed before a stance will be taken.

A Whitehall source said: “Nobody is going to green light the mass vaccination of children at this stage.

“Scientists want to see more data from the US and elsewhere before taking a firm stand either way. Nobody is going to make a final decision at this point. The JCVI will want to weigh up the benefits against the risks before vaccinating children, and it wants more data.”

A senior government source added: “The Pfizer vaccine has been licensed for 12 to 15-year-olds by the MHRA, and a number of countries will be vaccinating children in those age groups. Ministers have not received advice, and no decisions have been taken.”

It comes after the chief medical officer suggested during a press conference that officials are looking into whether youngsters could be given the vaccine before returning to school.

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Chris Whitty
Chris Whitty said the idea was being looked into

But he added the priority was to give all adults a vaccine by July 19, when all coronavirus restrictions are expected to be lifted.

Chris Whitty said officials from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation are looking into whether youngsters could be given the vaccine before returning to school following a year of Covid wreaking havoc in schools.

Meanwhile, Kevin Courtney, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union, has already called for all children to be fully vaccinated before going back to class in September.

He said that if the Government decides to go ahead with jabs for schoolchildren, the process should happen “as quickly as possible”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said previously: “No decisions have yet been made on whether people aged 12 to 17 should be routinely offered COVID-19 vaccines.

“The government will continue to be guided by the advice of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and has asked for its formal recommendation. We will update in due course.”



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