Further advice needed before final decision made on vaccinating 12-15 year olds

No firm decision has been made yet on whether 12-15 year olds should receive the vaccine. Credit: PA Images

Wales' Chief Medical Officer (CMO) will be consulted on whether or not the vaccine should be rolled out to healthy 12-15 year olds.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said that the benefits from vaccination to this age group are only marginally greater than the rare but potential side effects.

It has said further advise should be sought from the UK's four CMOs on the wider impacts of vaccinating 12-15 year olds before making a decision on the rollout.

The vaccine advisers said CMOs should consider, for example, the impact on schools and young people’s education, which has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The Health Minister says she has called upon Dr Frank Atherton to give his advice but the Welsh NHS stands ready to roll the vaccine out if required.

Dr Frank Atherton will be one of the four CMOs giving advice on the rollout to healthy 12-15 year olds. Credit: Welsh Government

Eluned Morgan MS said: "Our intention, as it has been from the start of the pandemic, is to follow the clinical and scientific evidence.

"Decisions on the vaccination of all 12-15 year olds will be made on the basis of the CMO’s advice, in addition to the advice provided by the JCVI. 

"In the meantime, our NHS has planned and stands ready to implement any further decisions taken."

The JCVI has recommended a limited rollout to more children in the age bracket who have underlying health problems, saying they would benefit from the protection.

It means about 200,000 more children across the UK with chronic major heart, lung, kidney, liver and neurological conditions will be invited for vaccines.

Ms Morgan said: "Our NHS will work quickly to identify these children and young people and their Health Boards will automatically contact them."

"There is no need for patients to contact their health board or clinicians to check eligibility. Those children and young people already eligible under the JCVI’s advice of specific underlying health conditions will have already been offered appointments."