Yesterday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) updated its advice on the COVID-19 vaccine programme in relation to children.
The JCVI advises that:
Children aged 5 – 11 years in a clinical risk group (as defined in the Green Book), or who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed (as defined in the Green Book), should be offered two 10 micrograms doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty®) with an interval of 8 weeks between the first and second doses. The minimum interval between any vaccine dose and recent COVID-19 infection should be 4 weeks.
When formulating advice in relation to childhood immunisations, JCVI has consistently held that the main focus of its considerations should be the potential benefits and harms of vaccination to children and young people themselves. The benefits and risks from COVID-19 vaccination in children and young people are finely balanced largely because the risks associated with SARS-CoV2 infection are very low. Of all age groups, children aged 5 – 11 years are those at lowest risks of serious COVID-19.
At the current time, JCVI considers the balance of potential benefits and harms is in favour of offering vaccination to children aged 5 – 11 years who are in a clinical risk group. Children aged 5 – 11 years old who are not in a clinical risk group but are household contacts of an immunosuppressed individual (of any age) should also be offered COVID-19 vaccination on the understanding that the main indication for vaccination is to indirectly increase protection of the person who is immunosuppressed.
The NHS will contact parents of children aged 5 – 11 years to arrange an appointment for a first dose where clinically appropriate.
To read more about the key evidence considered in relation to this recommendation, the full JVCI statement is available here
In response to the threat from the Omicron variant, the JCVI has also advised that booster vaccinations should be offered to persons aged:
- 16 to 17 years
- 12 to 15 years who are in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of someone (of any age) who is immunosuppressed
- 12 to 15 years who are severely immunocompromised and who have had a third primary dose
If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will do our very best to support you.