An announcement has been made that 16 and 17-year-olds should receive the Covid vaccine after reviewing data. Officials close to the programme said children would be able to give consent without parental approval. Prime Minister Boris Johnson today called on families to listen to the advice from No10’s top scientists.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) today advised that all 16- and 17-year-olds can receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The age group will also not need parental consent to get Covid vaccines, No10’s top scientists revealed today as they hinted children as young as 12 could be offered jabs later this year.
In the last few weeks, there have been large changes in the way COVID-19 has been spreading in the UK, which was announced was more evident in younger age groups.
The JCVI recommended the 1.4million youngsters should be offered Pfizer jabs as such.
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“This updated advice means we can be confident that young people will be afforded around 80 percent protection against hospitalisation following receipt of their first dose,” said the JCVI.
It continued: “It is expected that protection will probably be even higher as younger people respond better to vaccines and some will have already had the COVID-19 infection, meaning they will have an even better response to a first dose.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the NHS would send out invites ‘as soon as possible’, with the goal of getting the oldest teenagers protected before they return to classrooms in September.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said there was “no time to waste” and that there was “plentiful” supply of the vaccines.
Professor Tam also laid the groundwork for ministers to expand the inoculation drive to all over-12s in the near future, saying that the JCVI would “continually review” the evidence.
There are currently no concrete plans to offer the 16- and 17-year-olds second doses, with the expert panel wanting to buy more time to understand the safety risks.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, added: “After carefully considering the latest data, we advise that healthy 16- to 17-year-olds are offered a first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
“Advice on when to offer the second vaccine dose will come later.”
The JCVI has looked at the very latest safety data from the UK and other countries due to some serious side effects have been reported in this younger age group.
This includes myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart).
These side effects usually occur within a few days of the second dose, typically more in young men.
Data from the USA suggests that, in males aged 12 to 17 years, 9.8 cases of myocarditis were reported per million first doses given.
This rises to 67 per million after the second dose.
If younger people experience any of the following symptoms after receiving their vaccination, they should call 111 or see their GP:
- A stabbing pain and/or tightness in the chest which may spread across the body
- Pain in the neck that may spread across the shoulders and/or arms
- Shortness of breath when lightly exercising or walking
- Difficulty breathing when resting or feeling light-headed
- Flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature, tiredness and fatigue
- Palpitations or an abnormal heart rhythm
- Feeling like you need to be sick