Pfizer has recently expanded testing of its own Covid vaccine in children younger than 12 years old. However, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are expected to recommend against vaccinating under-18’s for the time being.
The JCVI are said to be preparing an “interim” statement to be released at the end of the week at the earliest on vaccinating children.
At a meeting, JCVI members are understood to have raised serious ethical concerns about administering jabs to under-18’s due to their low risk of serious illness.
The statement is expected to say more time is needed to assess studies of vaccine rollouts in other countries where children are being vaccinated before deciding whether such a programme should be launched in the UK.
In the US, Israel and EU, Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is authorised for emergency use for anyone over 12-years-old.
Teaching unions and ministers have already called for children to be vaccinated against Covid before the new school year starts in August.
On Monday, Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, suggested children may need to be vaccinated to ensure that their education can continue without disruption.
Kevin Courtney, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union, told the Telegraph: “If JCVI look at the ethical questions and if they think on the ethical balance – and the MHRA say there is a high degree of safety – then in an ideal world we think it would be better if kids were vaccinated and had three weeks immunity before they come back to school in September.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said in May Britain has enough Pfizer doses to vaccinate all children over the age of 12.
On Tuesday, another 132,627 first doses and 235,928 second doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered.
So far the UK has given out 41,831,056 first doses and 30,209,707 second doses, equalling 79.4 percent and 57.4 percent of the population respectively.
Tuesday also saw another 7,673 cases and 10 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test recorded.
In total, the UK has seen 4,581,006 cases and 127,917 deaths.