UK: No decision on COVID vaccines for kids

UK continues to mull whether to offer COVID vaccines to kids ages 12-15, after committee recommends against vaccinating healthy children.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

13-year-old receives COVID vaccine in Jerusalem
13-year-old receives COVID vaccine in Jerusalem
Flash90/Yonatan Sindel

The British government has yet to reach a decision on whether or not to permit children under the age of 16 who have no preexisting conditions to receive coronavirus vaccines, the UK’s vaccine minister announced Sunday afternoon.

Minister Nadhim Zahawi told the BBC that the government is holding back on making a decision on vaccines for healthy kids under 16 until it has received a recommendation from health advisors.

“No decision will be made until we hear back from the chief medical officers,” Zahawi said.

On Friday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended only that children with underlying conditions receive COVID vaccines, declining to back mass vaccinations for children.

The committee noted the rarity of severe COVID cases among children, as well as rare but troubling side effects – such as myocarditis – from the vaccines seen in younger vaccine recipients.

“Of course these vaccines do work and would be beneficial to children in terms of preventing infection and disease, but the number of serious cases that we see of COVID in children this age are really very small," JCVI member Adam Finn said, according to Reuters.

"There are uncertainties about the long-term implications of [myocarditis], and that makes the risk-benefit balance for these children really quite tight and much tighter than we would be comfortable to make the recommendation."

Britain’s hesitance to back mass vaccination campaigns for health children under 16 contrasts with the policy adopted by Israel, the US, and some European countries, including France, Spain, and Italy.

Zahawi also said Sunday that the government is continuing to consider plans for a third booster shot of the COVID vaccine, which if approved would offer the booster jab to the elderly and people with preexisting conditions which leave them especially vulnerable to COVID.