Clinically vulnerable children and those living with at-risk adults will be offered a Covid-19 vaccine – but most teenagers will not, Nadhim Zahawi has announced.
The vaccines minister told MPs that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) has recommended that children “at an increased risk of serious Covid-19 disease” should be offered the coronavirus jab, and that the government will take on board this advice.
It means children aged between 12 and 15-years-old with severe neurodisabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities will be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Those children in the same age range who live with an immunosuppressed person will also be offered the vaccine, Mr Zahawi said.
As well as teenagers within three months of their 18th birthday will be offered the jab – the aim is to protect people leaving school before they start work or university.
But the government will not be offering all healthy teenagers a coronavirus jab at present as the JVCI is not advising it.
The JVCI said it had made this decision as “evidence shows that Covid-19 rarely causes severe disease in children without underlying health conditions” and that “the minimal health benefits of offering universal Covid-19 vaccination to children do not outweigh the potential risks”.