England is Offering Covid Jab to Children Aged 5 to 11

England is Offering Covid Jab to Children Aged 5 to 11

Emily Newton 16/02/2022
England is Offering Covid Jab to Children Aged 5 to 11

According to the UK government, children aged between five and 11 in England will be offered a low-dose Covid vaccine.

Following recommending jabs for vulnerable children in the age group late last year, experts on the government's vaccine advisory committee have updated their guidance.

Wales and Scotland have already said they will offer young children the vaccine.

Northern Ireland's health minister Robin Swann announced that the country would be carrying out the same move.

Pfizer/BioNTech jab will be offered to younger children as experts decide benefits outweigh risks.

Children are at a much lower risk of becoming severely ill from a Covid infection, so the health benefits of vaccinating them are smaller than in other age-groups. Also, many will have some protection from already having caught the virus.

The NHS will prepare to extend this non-urgent offer to all children during April so parents can, if they want, take up the offer to increase protection against potential future waves of Covid-19 as we learn to live with this virus.

Sajid Javid, Health and Social Care Secretary.

The main purpose of offering vaccination to 5-11 year olds is to increase their protection against severe illness in advance of a potential future wave of COVID-19.

As always with vaccines, it comes down to risk and benefit. And the JCVI is cautious.

Young children rarely have serious consequences from Covid-19. Of any age group, 5 to 11-year-olds have the lowest risk.

However, the vaccine does reduce the chances of testing positive and missing school. So, there is a benefit to their education.

Against that there is the question of side effects.

Older children, particularly boys, have a very rare risk of a heart problem called myocarditis, which is why the JCVI agonised over the rollout to 12 to 15-year-olds.

It's likely the committee wanted the reassurance of data from countries that have been vaccinating the under-11s.

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Emily Newton

Science & Tech Expert

Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized. She is a science and technology journalist with over three years covering industry trends and research. 

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