JCVI rule out Covid vaccinations for children – but say Welsh Gov don’t have to follow their advice
The UK Government’s vaccines watchdog has decided there is not enough evidence to recommend the rollout of Covid vaccines to all 12- to 15-year-olds.
The Welsh Government has previously followed the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), and is expected to heed it again this time.
However, the JCVI also said that ministers had the option of overruling their advice. They said it was not within their remit to consider wider issues such as disruption to education and wider community transmission.
The Chief Medical Officers for Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will now consider how to proceed.
Explaining their reasons for not recommending jabs for children, the JCVI said that the marginal benefit of vaccinating them was “insufficient to support a universal offer” of vaccines to the age group.
Prof Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid immunisation for the JCVI said that the “margin of benefit is considered too small to support universal Covid-19 vaccination for this age group at this time”.
“The committee will continue to review safety data as they emerge,” he added.
The JCVI did however recommended an expansion of the group of children with health conditions that makes them clinically vulnerable, including haematological malignancy, sickle cell disease, type 1 diabetes and congenital heart disease.
The Welsh Government announced earlier this week that some 12 and over will be offered a third Covid-19 jab, the Welsh Government has announced.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said it would be offered to individuals aged 12 and over who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of either, or both, of their first two vaccine doses.
The Welsh Government said they were following the advice of the JCVI to do so.
The advice has been given because some immunosuppressed individuals may not produce a full immune response to the Covid vaccine.
In a written statement, Eluned Morgan said: “Today, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have advised that a third COVID-19 vaccine primary dose be offered to individuals, aged 12 years and over, who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of either, or both, of their first two vaccine doses.
“This is because some individuals who are severely immunosuppressed due to underlying health conditions or certain medical treatments may not produce a full immune response to COVID-19 vaccination.
“These individuals need additional protection and I welcome this advice. The JCVI advice details the groups who will be eligible and our NHS in Wales will work quickly to identify eligible individuals who will be contacted by their Health Boards.”