ECONOMY

Javid gives the green light for vaccines for schoolchildren


The move comes after the chief medical officers of the four UK nations advised younger teenagers should be offered the Pfizer BioNTech jab.

The decision takes into account the “extremely powerful” evidence on the impact of the pandemic on children’s education, as well as the risks to their mental health from missing school.

Mr Javid said the NHS in England would now begin rolling out the vaccine with the same urgency that has characterised the rest of the programme.

“I have accepted the recommendation from the chief medical officers to expand vaccination to those aged 12 to 15 – protecting young people from catching Covid-19, reducing transmission in schools and keeping pupils in the classroom,” he said.

“Our outstanding NHS stands ready to move forward with rolling out the vaccine to this group with the same sense of urgency we’ve had at every point in our vaccination programme.”

Formal announcements are expected from the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If approved throughout the UK, three million British children could be eligible for the jab, with vaccinations expected to be given through schools.

The decision comes despite the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) deciding not to recommend mass vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds.

The JCVI had said Covid-19 presents a very low risk for healthy children and vaccination would only offer a marginal benefit.

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