December 22, 2021 3.18 pm This story is over 30 months old

COVID vaccine to be offered to 5 to 11-year-olds with health risks

COVID “low risk” but will help the vulnerable

Vulnerable 5-11-year-olds could be offered the COVID vaccine following the latest advice from government scientists.

A statement from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on Wednesday recommended that those who are in a clinical risk group or in the household of someone who is immunosuppressed should be given their first dose.

The JCVI’s studies have shown that that the risks associated with SARS-CoV2 are “very low” but “finely balanced”.

However, the statement said: ” JCVI considers the balance of potential benefits and harms is in favour of offering vaccination to children aged five to 11 years who are in a clinical risk group.

“Children… who are not in a clinical risk group, but are household contacts of a immunosuppressed individual (of any age) should also be offered COVID-19 vaccination on the understanding that the main indication for vaccination is to indirectly increase protection of the person who is immunosuppressed.”

The advice is to offer them two 10 micrograms doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with an interval of eight weeks between the first and second doses.

“The minimum interval between any vaccine dose and recent COVID-19 infection should be 4 weeks,” said the statement.

The drugs regulator – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – has already licensed the vaccine for use.

Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said: “Parents and carers can be reassured that no new vaccine for children would have been approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met.”