All teenagers could be cleared to receive vaccinations against coronavirus within days, after ministers ordered a review that could override the government’s immunisation experts who have refused to recommend jabs for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds.
The chief medical officers of the four nations of the UK – including England’s Prof Chris Whitty – are expected to report as early as next week on whether the educational and social damage of the pandemic to teens should tip the balance in favour of vaccination.
With public health experts calling for a swift programme of injections to see off a feared spike in cases as children return to classrooms, the NHS and schools have been told to be ready for mass vaccinations to start as soon as the judgement of the chief medical officers is delivered.
This could mean gyms and assembly halls being converted into temporary vaccination centres or pupils being given special permission to miss classes to get the jab.
As revealed in The Independent on Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has been resisting intense political pressure to approve universal jabs for under-16s.