All teenagers aged 16 and 17 are set to be offered a coronavirus vaccine it has been claimed today.
Scientists on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are now expected to recommend the move after appeals from public health chiefs across the UK.
A decision could be made within days with reports tonight saying the first of the 1.5 million teenagers could be jabbed beginning later this month.
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Labour has backed the move describing it as ‘vital’ and said parents must be given “all the facts and information they need.”
The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed the JCVI were on the verge of the move earlier today.
Speaking to MSPs on Tuesday, she suggested the decision could come as soon as Wednesday.
“We are waiting on JCVI advice. When I say ‘we’, I am obviously referring to the Scottish Government, but the UK, Welsh and Northern Irish governments are in the same position” she said.
Ms Sturgeon said the four chief medical officers across the UK had written to the JCVI asking them to look again at vaccination advice for young people.
“First, as a priority, I am particularly hopeful that we will see updated recommendations for 16 and 17-year-olds” she said.
“I am hoping for – possibly veering towards expecting – updated advice from the JCVI in the next day or so.”
Boris Johnson was expected to accept the advice “immediately” the Daily Mail is reporting.
The JCVI has so far ruled out the mass vaccination of healthy children, but under existing guidance young people aged 16 to 17 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious Covid infection should have already been offered a jab.
Children aged 12 to 15 with certain conditions which make them vulnerable to coronavirus can also access the vaccine, as can those aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person, such as a parent or grandparent.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty previously said there was a balance to be struck between vaccinating young people who do not tend to suffer severely from the virus, and ensuring their lives were not disrupted.
Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said tonight: “With the JCVI apparently about to give the green light to vaccinating 16-year-olds, ministers need to ensure plans are in place to roll out this vital next stage of vaccination while ensuring parents have all the facts and information they need.”
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