The JCVI is today advising that children at increased risk of serious COVID-19 disease are offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. That includes children aged 12 to 15 who are immunosuppressed.
The JCVI also recommends that children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person should be offered the vaccine. This is to indirectly protect their immunosuppressed household contacts, who are at higher risk of serious disease from COVID-19 and may not generate a full immune response to vaccination.
Under existing advice, young people aged 16 to 17 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 should have already been offered vaccination.
The announcement means that a number of our young people who have not yet been eligible for vaccination will now be able to receive it. We are however awaiting further clarification on the criteria in relation to the level of immunosuppression a child is on to become eligible and we shall make this available as soon as we receive it.
Update 26 July 2021
The Liver Steering Group (BSPGHAN) have issued the advice that the below groups should be offered two doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine:
All patients from 12 years of age onwards who:
- are on immunosuppression, but 3 months after starting treatment, including patients such as those post liver transplant or with autoimmune liver disease
- live with clinically extremely vulnerable people in their household
- are listed for liver transplant
Immunisation against COVID-19 should be booked and undertaken via local primary or secondary health services and the 1st dose should be offered prior to these children returning to school in September.
This advice may change in the future based on updated evidence.
There are further clinical trials being undertaken in younger age groups with results due later in the year.
Update 2 August 2021
Update 4 August
*update from Department of Health and Social Care 16 August 2021
Children aged 12 to 15 who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 or who live with adults who are at increased risk of serious illness from the virus are being contacted by the NHS and invited for their vaccine by 23 August, ahead of the new school year.
*Those in Northern Ireland who have a letter can book through this portal (follow the link for details).