To fight the spread of the coronavirus, England will expand vaccination. The government will offer 12-15 year olds to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as early as next week, he announced Monday evening, thus following the opinion of the chief doctors of the four nations of the United Kingdom . Local governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, competent in matters of health, will in turn have to make their decision known.
The vaccination program will be carried out through schools as is already the case for other vaccines, with the consent of parents or officials. The Minister of Health Sajid Javid also specified that the public health service, the NHS, “stands ready to deploy the vaccine” to this age group “with the same sense of urgency that we had to every stage of our immunization program ”.
Reduce “disruption in education”
The chief doctors’ recommendation differs from the conclusions of the committee overseeing the vaccination campaign, raising fears of reluctance on the part of families to apply it. It means that three million adolescents in this age group would be eligible in the UK to receive a first and unchanged dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. The four British chief medical officers have also asked the committee to decide on the administration of a second dose to adolescents in this age group, when more data becomes available worldwide.
“We believe this is a useful additional tool to help reduce the impact on public health caused by disruptions in education,” the Chief Medical Officer for England said at a press conference. , Professor Chris Whitty, assuring that the conclusions of the chief medical officers and those of the committee “are not in conflict”. Despite concerns about the start of the new school year, the committee (JCVI) estimated 10 days ago that the benefit of extending vaccination to 12-15 year olds was marginal. The virus presents a low risk for healthy children, he said while recommending that the government seek further advice.
Children over 12 years old who have health problems making them vulnerable to Covid-19 are already eligible for vaccination, which is already open to all 16-17 year olds. Prime Minister Boris Johnson must also present his plan to fight the virus for the winter on Tuesday, against a backdrop of fears of a return this year of seasonal pathologies and strong pressure on the health system.