The UK will not vaccinate all children and teenagers and is instead preparing to offer jabs to vulnerable 12 to 15-year-olds, alongside youngsters about to turn 18, ITV News understands.
As first reported in the Telegraph, it is thought the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised ministers against offering jabs to all children until further evidence on the risks is available.The government is to announce on Monday that only youngsters aged between 12 and 15 who are deemed vulnerable to Covid, or who live with adults who are either immunosuppressed or otherwise vulnerable to the virus, will be offered the vaccine.
Seventeen-year-olds within three months of turning 18 will also be able to get their jab.
The UK's medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for use among children aged 12 and over in the UK.However, as of now, officials have not confirmed whether the vaccination programme will extend into children once the adult vaccine campaign is complete.
Academics have debated the issue, with some arguing that the UK should follow the US and Israel and begin to vaccinate children to prevent outbreaks in schools.
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Others have questioned the ethics of offering vaccines to children when it would have little clinical benefit.
Earlier this month, a survey found more than half of parents with children are willing to have them vaccinated against Covid-19.
A YouGov poll of 938 parents with children aged 17 or under found that 53% would get their child vaccinated, rising to 59% of parents who have already had, or were planning to get, the jab themselves.
However, one in five (18%) of all parents said that they would not vaccinate their children, while another 29% were unsure.