Vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 are introduced in England

Around five million children aged between five and 11 in England are eligible for a “low-dose” coronavirus vaccine, despite the Government acknowledging a low-risk profile for young people dying from the Chinese virus.

From Monday, hundreds of sites across England will begin rolling out vaccinations to five million children between the ages of five and 11, having previously restricted vaccines to young people deemed to be at high risk or living with vulnerable people.

The deputy director of the National Health Service (NHS) vaccination campaign, Dr. Nikki Kanani told Sky News that vaccines are still “the best defense” against the Wuhan virus.

“My 13-year-old son has had his two shots and I will be enrolling my 10-year-old daughter for her as soon as possible,” promised Dr. Kanani.

Boris Johnson’s government has admitted otherwise healthy children are not at high risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus, with studies from last year suggesting the death toll from coronavirus in England is in the low single digits.

However, a decision was made to expand the availability for parents or carers to vaccinate their children anyway, with the government arguing that the vaccinations are considered safe given that other countries, including the other British home nations, use vaccines for children should be of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Health Minister Sajid Javid said: “[c]Children with no underlying health conditions are at low risk of serious illness from Covid and the priority for the NHS remains to provide adults and vulnerable young people with vaccines and spring boosters, as well as catching up with other children’s vaccination programmes”.

Originally, in September last year, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) said it could not recommend vaccination of young children, stating that the “marginal” benefits of vaccinating children are insufficient to justify the “potential harms”. justify being caused by the vaccine.

Still, the JCVI said at the time that it was not within the agency’s “jurisdiction” to make the final decision and suggested that the government must also consider the “societal” impact of the vaccination program as such schools could reopen.

In February, the JCVI updated its guidance, saying: “Although this age group is generally at very low risk of serious illness from the virus, a very small number of children who become infected develop serious illness.”

Therefore, the JCVI recommended that the government issue a “non-urgent” appeal to vaccinate children with two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s pediatric vaccine, which has a lower strength than adult vaccines.

The announcement comes amid record numbers of registered coronavirus infections in the UK, with an estimated 4.9 million currently having the virus.

However, despite the apparent record, deaths have still remained well below their peak.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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