Covid-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds has been given the green light by the government’s chief medical officers.
A single dose of the Pfizer vaccine is set to be offered to children over the age of 12 through in-school immunisation programmes as soon as next week.
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty and his counterparts agreed that the vaccines would help reduce the disruption of the pandemic on education and avoid anymore school closures.
A programme for children to receive a second jab could be introduced from the spring, providing data backs up the move.
Earlier this month, the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) refused to give the go ahead for under-16s widely receiving the jabs.
However, the JCVI did note that although there were just “marginal” health benefits – the jabs had a material advantage in helping keep children in school, following an extending period of home learning.
The chief medical officers (CMOs) said in a letter to ministers: “The negative impact has been especially great in areas of relative deprivation which have been particularly badly affected by Covid-19.
“The effects of missed or disrupted education are even more apparent and enduring in these areas. The effects of disrupted education, or uncertainty, on mental health are well recognised.
“There can be lifelong effects on health if extended disruption to education leads to reduced life chances.”