The Daily Mail:
Government pushing for ‘maximum immunity’ (Does that phrase sound familiar?)
- Leaked plan means jabs for kids months ahead of when they were anticipated
- Proposal is bound to be controversial as covid poses a tiny risk to children and academics argue that under 18s do not contribute to the spread of the disease
Children could receive covid vaccines from August as the government pushes for maximum immunity, sources have revealed.
The plan leaked to The Telegraph means that up to 11 million under 18s could have jabs by the start of the autumn term, months ahead of when inoculations had been expected for children.
The government awaits data from a major child vaccine study by Oxford University, with conclusions due in June or July, which will dictate the final decision on jabs for children.
The government awaits data from a major child vaccine study by Oxford University with conclusions due in June or July which will dictate the final decision on jabs for children
Figures from Public Health England (PHE) show the risk of dying from covid if infected is 1,513 per 100,000 people for over-80s, but for children aged five to nine, this is just 0.1 per 100,000.
People who back the policy argue that it is important to minimise the risk of infection, despite academics who argue children do not contribute to the spread of covid.
Israel is the first country in the world to have rolled out vaccines to children, with 16 and 17-year-olds having jabs after the health ministry decided it was safe.
Britain’s vaccine drive, like Israel’s, has been immensely successful – with around three million first doses administered each week.
If the proposal to jab children goes ahead, this would mean 11 million kids could be vaccinated before the start of the autumn term.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said ‘no decisions have been made on whether children should be offered vaccinations.’
One source involved in the plan told The Telegraph that vaccines for children ‘could begin by late summer,’ stating specifically that August was the date.
Another source said that this would be the ‘earliest’ the roll-out for under-18s would begin.
Only children who are at a high risk of covid are currently able to have a vaccine.
The Oxford trial which the Department of Health is looking to involves 300 children aged six to 17 who are receiving AstraZeneca jabs.
There are likely to be exemptions if the vaccine is granted approval for children, and it is expected that parents would have the final say so in any case.
Prof. Adam Finn, a paediatrician on the government’s jabs committee, told the Telegraph: ‘Children constitute close to quarter of the population, so even if we could achieve 100 per cent uptake of vaccines across the adult population, it only gets you to 75 per cent coverage.’