Young people aged 16 and 17 are to be offered a coronavirus vaccine before they return to school after the summer holidays, it has been reported.
According to The Sun, ministers want to give jabs to children for the first time if medical experts say it is safe to do so. The new plans emerged on the day that Britons would have been celebrating the final lifting of coronavirus restrictions, before the measure was delayed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
With a new Freedom Day target of July 17, Downing Street reportedly wants to offer all A-level and college students aged 16 and 17 a vaccine in August before they go back to school in September.
However, it comes after experts on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation are understood to have raised ‘serious ethical concerns’ about inoculating children because of the tiny risk they face of becoming seriously ill. The JCVI was reportedly set to urge No10 to hold off jabbing under-18s in the immediate future and wait for more safety data to come out of the US and Israel, where the plans are already in motion.
But a Whitehall source told The Sun that if the JCVI does approve vaccinations for younger age groups, the Government has the ‘capacity and willingness’ to offer them vaccines.
‘Late teens are some of the most socially active members of society so if we can cut that transmission, it can only be a good thing,’ they added. Yesterday, hundreds of people queued to get a jab at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in north London as the vaccine programme was opened up to people aged 18 to 20.
More than 700,000 Covid-19 jabs were booked in one day through the national booking service on Friday which equated to 30,000 an hour or more than eight every second.