Pfizer coronavirus vaccine approved for 12 to 15 year olds
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Covid vaccines have been very successfully rolled out in the UK, with 41.5 percent of the population fully vaccinated and 60 percent having received at least a first dose, according to Our World in Data. That brings the total doses given to 68million, with people fully vaccinated to 27.7million. While this seems like vast numbers, there are still swathes of the population – particularly young people – still waiting to be jabbed.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said opening up vaccinations to people aged under 30 in England was making “big strides” towards the goal of offering a vaccine to all adults in the country.
Mr Hancock said: “We will be opening up vaccines to the under-30s and so we are getting a step closer to the point when we have been able to offer the vaccine to all adults in this country.
“Once we have got everybody having had their second dose, then you will get this protection that we are seeing at the moment among older people, you’ll get that protection throughout the whole adult population.”
Mr Hancock said vaccines had “severed but not broken” the link between a rise in cases and an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital.
As things stand, people aged 30 and over can book online or through the national booking service, on 119.
The NHS confirmed to Express.co.uk that even if your age group or cohort has passed, you can still sign up to have your jab now.
This means anyone aged 30 and over can have their vaccine by registering for an appointment.
If you would like to arrange to have your Covid vaccine and are in the eligible age range, you can do so here or by calling 119.
From next week, people aged 30 and under will be able to be vaccinated as well.
Brits in this age cohort will be able to book their Covid vaccine in the same way from next week when the scheme opens to them.
The Health Secretary has also argued there are “plenty of good reasons” to vaccinate children, welcoming the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) approval of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine in teens aged 12 to 15.
Mr Hancock said: “I’m delighted with the regulator, having looked very carefully at the data and with their typical rigour and independence, has come forward and said that the jab is safe and effective for those who are over the age of 12.”
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He added: “So, we’re only talking about children over the age of 12 here and we’re taking advice currently from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI), the experts in this, on the right approach to putting this into practice.”
The Secretary of State said a plan for “how and if” this scheme is taken forward will become available in a few weeks.
He explained: “We know that the vaccine both protects you and helps you stop transmitting, and I want to protect education as much as anybody does.
“And so making sure that we don’t have those whole bubbles having to go home, especially as we saw over the autumn for instance, that has upsides for education.”
Scientists, however, have warned against rushing into anything when it comes to vaccinating children, warning there was an “ethical issue” around the debate.
This is especially true when considering how many less economically developed countries in the world don’t even have the capacity to vaccinate their most vulnerable adults, let alone children.
Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the JCVI, said much of the benefit of vaccinating children would be to prevent transmission to adults, therefore posing “ethical dilemmas as to whether you should” immunise children mainly for the indirect benefit of adults.
Professor Harnden said we need to be “absolutely sure that the benefits to them [children] and potentially to society far outweigh any risks”.
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