Scotland to give 5-11 year olds Covid jabs ahead of JCVI advice publication

Scotland and Wales will be offering vaccines to 5-11 year olds Credit: PA

Children aged between five and 11 will be offered the coronavirus vaccine in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Scotland follows in the footsteps of Wales, who announced on Tuesday that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had recommended the move.

Based on the same advice – which has yet to be formally published – Scottish ministers also approved the change.

In England, only 5-11 year olds who are at risk are currently being offered the jab.

Work is currently underway to develop how vaccinations could be delivered, with more information expected when the programme is finalised.

“Although it has yet to be published officially by the JCVI, like colleagues in Wales we have received advice from the JCVI which recommends Covid-19 vaccination for all children aged five to 11 years old,” the First Minister said.

Nicola Sturgeon announced the move on Wednesday. Credit: PA

“I can confirm that ministers have considered this draft advice and are content to accept its recommendations.

“Throughout the pandemic it has been our intention that we follow the clinical and scientific evidence available to us and I’d like to once again thank the JCVI for their hard work in scrutinising the science and providing clear guidance.”

The US has been offering the Pfizer vaccine to 5-11 year olds since November. The European Medicines Agency also recommended its rollout in November.

The UK medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for use in children aged five to 11 last year, but the government has usually waited for the JCVI's advice on whether this is necessary before making a move.

The dose approved for children is lower than that used for adults and older children.

Wales was the first country in the UK to make the move on Tuesday, despite the fact the JCVI advice has not yet been published.

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There are reports the JCVI announcement of its decision on whether to expand the immunisation programme to younger children has been delayed due to a disagreement with the UK government.

Speaking in the Senedd on Tuesday Wales’ health minister Eluned Morgan: “It’s a shame and it’s perplexing to understand why that has not been published yet

“But I have seen a copy of that advice and we will be commencing the rollout of vaccinations for five to 11-year-olds.”

A Government spokesperson in Westminster said: “We are reviewing the JCVI’s advice as part of wider decision-making ahead of the publication of our long-term strategy for living with COVID-19. More detail will be set out shortly.”

The government in England is expected to make an announcement next week.