The UK government is planning to offer Covid-19 vaccines to children over the age of 12 by this summer, according to Matt Hancock.
The health secretary made the announcement after the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds earlier this month.
Matt Hancock said that he would take guidance from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) regarding the decision to determine how and when to rollout vaccines for children. The health secretary told Sky News: “I’m delighted that the regulator, having looked very carefully at the data, with typical rigor and independence, has come forward and said the jab is safe and effective for those who are over the age of 12”
“We are taking advice from the JCVI on putting that into practice.”
As of writing, over 40 million people are recorded to have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and young people aged 21 and over are now the next group to be targeted by the campaign. The government has stated that the reasoning behind getting children vaccinated is because a “huge proportion of the latest [Covid-19] cases are in children.”
Matt Hancock explained further that if children were vaccinated, it would prevent disruption in schools when students catch the virus. However, it would be ridiculous to give young children the experimental Covid-19 vaccine as the risk of them contracting the virus is incredibly low, and if they do, it would be extremely unlikely that they would develop severe symptoms.
The risks of giving children the vaccine far outweigh any reward: During a Pfizer vaccine trial carried out on children aged 12 to 15, 86% of children who were given at least one dose of the jab suffered an adverse reaction ranging from mild to severe.