The British vaccination program will extend to young adolescents aged 12 to 15, the British Minister for Health announced on September 13. Three million people are affected, but without a second dose planned immediately.
London will offer 12-15 year olds to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as early as next week, the government announced on September 13 in the evening, following the opinion of the chief doctors of the four nations of the United Kingdom ( England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). The vaccination program will be carried out through schools as is already the case for other vaccines, with the consent of parents or officials.
“I accepted the recommendation of the chief medical officers to extend the vaccination to 12-15 year olds,” Health Minister Sajid Javid said in a statement, stressing that the public health service, the NHS, “is standing by ready to deploy the vaccine “to this age group” with the same sense of urgency that we had at every stage of our vaccination program “.
I have accepted the unanimous recommendation from the UK Chief Medical Officers to offer vaccination to those aged 12 to 15.
This will protect young people from catching COVID-19, reduce transmission in schools and help keep pupils in the classroom.
– Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) September 13, 2021
The local governments of Scotland, Welsh and Northern Ireland, competent in matters of health, will in turn have to make their decision known. 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 despite fears related to the recent start of the school year.
Three million adolescents affected but no second dose scheduled immediately
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.
In their recommendation, they notably took into account the impact of the pandemic on the education of adolescents and stressed that vaccination could make it possible to “reduce [mais pas éliminer] disruptions in teaching ”.
“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 “[n’étaient] 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. 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.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 134,000 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. The country, which has more than 66 million inhabitants, registers about 30,000 new cases per day. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to present his plan to fight the virus for the winter on September 14, amid fears of a return this year of seasonal pathologies and strong pressure on the health system.