The vaccine will be delivered to all children aged 12 to 15 years, following the advice of Chief Medical Officers in all four UK countries. This is all you need to know.
Did other countries vaccinate children?
The EU approved the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and up in May after a study found that ages 12 to 15 had similar immune responses to ages 16 to 25.
As a result, countries such as France, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy have begun deploying vaccines for children.
The United States, Hong Kong and China also recommend that anyone over the age of 12 receive a jab.
Do your children have side effects?
Many children experience the same minor side effects as many adults in the days following vaccination, such as flu-like symptoms and arm pain.
Myocarditis and vaccine
Some parents are concerned about a rare possible association with inflammation of the heart known as myocarditis. This reduces the pumping capacity of the heart and can cause abnormal rhythms. It can cause chest pain and heartbeat, but the symptoms usually go away in a few days.
It is unclear what the link between jab and myocarditis is.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization stated that “there is more and more solid evidence of the link between vaccination with the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine and myocarditis,” which is “a very rare adverse event.” Met.
JCVI said the condition was more likely to occur after the second dose than the first, which was one of the reasons why only the first jab was recommended for people aged 12 to 15 years.
In a study of people who had taken Pfizer or Moderna jabs, the risk of condition after the second dose was small and common in boys, with 60 out of 1 million boys taking the second. I found out that I was in this state after taking Pfizer.
According to a survey, for girls, that number was eight in a million.
Myocarditis and coronavirus
However, another study shows that Covid is six times more likely to cause myocarditis in younger men than the vaccine.
Dr. Michael Head, a senior researcher at Global Health at the University of Southampton, said heart inflammation may be related to the coronavirus itself.
“Undoubtedly, there was only one potential adverse event to note. It’s myocarditis,” said Dr. Head.
“The cases of myocarditis in vaccinated teens are overwhelmingly mild, and the condition is clearly associated with patients infected with Covid-19 and is much more severe. “
Dr. Liswitterker, senior clinical lecturer in pediatric infectious diseases and immunology at Imperial College London, said the risks of viruses and heart inflammation are about the same.
“These risks need to be considered against the risk of children infected with Covid. For healthy children, the risk of serious illness (including pneumonia and heart inflammation) from viral infections is a vaccine.” She added.
What did the Chief Medical Officer make the decision based on?
Professor Chris Whitti and his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland consulted with British experts to look for evidence from countries that have already vaccinated their children against the coronavirus.
They also examined the impact of pandemics on educational disruption and normal child development.
They did not consider the broader benefits to society of vaccination of more teenagers, but increasing the number of people vaccinated is expected to reduce the overall infection rate. I said.
Professor Whitty, Chief Medical Officer of England, said: It is advantageous in terms of both personal benefits and broader indirect benefits to education and, through it, to public health. “
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has previously approved the use of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in children aged 12 to 15 years, explaining that it has a good safety profile.
What did JCVI say?
JCVI said the benefits of protection from Covid-19 by vaccination for children aged 12 to 15 years are only slightly higher than the potential risk of side effects. Therefore, we did not recommend full-scale deployment of the body.
JCVI members said they couldn’t take into account broader points, such as educational turmoil, so these seniors have a broader public health perspective and consider the issue with the Chief Health Officer. I asked you to.
According to Russell Viner, a professor of health for children and adolescents at UCL, the Chief Medical Officer “can take into account these broader issues and as a society we should provide vaccines to all teenagers. I decided to be. “
What are the broader benefits?
Many experts suggest that vaccination of children can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus throughout society and protect the most vulnerable people, including grandparents who may get sick from relatives. doing.
It is believed that as more people are vaccinated, Covid-19 will mutate and reduce the likelihood of creating new, potentially more dangerous strains.
Dr. Julian Tan, a clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, said by jabbing teenagers, “further reducing the storage of hosts where new variants can be produced and for adults in these children. Infectious diseases of contacts (including parents, teachers and other school staff) will not only benefit the wider society, but will also reduce disruption to their education. “
Evidence from Scotland
Dr. Simon Clark, an associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said unvaccinated children and adolescents are boosting infection rates in Scotland.
“Most people who are susceptible to the serious illness of Covid-19 are now double-jabed, but large numbers of viruses circulate freely among adolescents, especially if they do not know the potential for low immune levels or new mutations. It’s dangerous to do. Viruses can make things worse, “he added.
“We need to keep in mind that it is already common to vaccinate young people to protect older people and more vulnerable people, including newly developed vaccines.
“A new flu vaccine is created each year and, as it happened in Covid Jab, is tested for safety and efficacy and is rolled out to the general public.”
Comparison with rubella
Dr. Clark compared Covid Jab to the rubella and HPV vaccines that children in the UK receive.
“Rubella is a mild illness for children, but a serious risk for pregnant women and their foets,” he said.
“Boys are vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) in secondary school, not primarily for their own benefit, but to prevent the spread of the virus that causes cervical cancer in women.
“Creating the chain of vaccination infections between the ages of 12 and 15 will make it safer for more people of all ages,” he added.
Children are unlikely to be seriously ill with the coronavirus, and many children are thought to have innate immunity.
Data from the first 12 months of the pandemic in the United Kingdom show that 25 people under the age of 18 died of Covid. Researchers found that 251 children were admitted to the coronavirus intensive care unit.
Of those who died, 15 were life-threatening or fundamental. In the last five years, six did not record the underlying conditions, but the conditions may have been overlooked.
According to Dr. Whittaker, an estimated 40-70% of children and adolescents are already infected with the coronavirus and have existing immunity.
But Dr. Clark said, “Parents should remember that, sadly, some children have died of serious illness after being infected with the coronavirus.”
Will children be punished for not having a jab?
The vaccine is optional and the family can decide whether to take the jab.
The government has revealed that it will not affect children who are not vaccinated.
In a speech at Congress on Monday, Vaccine Minister Nadim Zahawi said, “No matter what decisions teenagers and parents make, they must be upheld and stigmatized in any way. It must not be. “
“We must continue to respect individual choices,” he added.
What if my child and I disagree about Jab?
A vaccination invitation will be sent next week and the school will seek parental consent before the vaccination takes place.
If the child disagrees with the parents’ decision not to allow the jab and they are considered competent, they can negate the parents’ wishes and have it.
This is nothing new. In fact, the ability of older children to make decisions about their medical care is based on long-standing legal principles.
According to the NHS, children under the age of 16 can agree “if they are believed to have sufficient intelligence, ability, and understanding to fully understand what is involved in treatment.”
Does that mean less confusion about education and child development?
Experts want vaccinated children to reduce school infections and minimize the educational disruption caused by pandemics.
In making the decision, the Chief Medical Officer concludes that school closures and interruptions in regular face-to-face education have harmed “the welfare and mental health of many children and adolescents, especially those in disadvantaged backgrounds.” I did.
They also added that the pandemic undermined their long-term life opportunities, which made them more likely to suffer from future health problems.
By vaccination of healthy children, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health states that “less interruptions in school attendance, more freedom to mix with friends, and better protection for healthy friends and family. Will be. ” There is a risk of the virus and it may help reduce the anxiety that some children feel about Covid-19. “
“Participation in activities both inside and outside the school is key to child development, resilience, mental health and well-being,” said RCPCH. “As an urgent matter, we need to ensure that such participation returns to normal.”
However, he added that vaccination efforts are “not a silver bullet” when returning to regular school and that it is important that services at other schools are not interrupted by it.