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BSI response to COVID-19 vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds recommended by UK's chief medical officers

Yesterday, the UK’s four chief medical officers recommended that healthy children aged 12 to 15 should be offered one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. It is now up to ministers from the devolved administrations whether to accept the recommendations of the chief medical officers, however in England the rollout has been confirmed.

In response the British Society for Immunology has issued the following statement.

Dr Doug Brown, Chief Executive of the British Society for Immunology said:

“As for all new vaccines and medications, the rollout of the new COVID-19 vaccines has been monitored extremely closely by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

“Earlier this month, the JCVI assessed that the benefits of vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds were not sufficient to warrant it on health grounds alone but advised the government to seek further input from the UK’s chief medical officers on the wider impact.

“After examining data on the impact of COVID-19 on wider society, including schools, the chief medical officers have concluded that vaccinating this age group is clinically justified as it will likely reduce disruption to education and therefore reduce longer-term public health effects that result from disrupted education.

“This decision also comes after reviewing data from the USA, Canada and Israel, which have already offered vaccines universally to children and young people aged 12 to 15.

“The MHRA has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people aged 12 and over after they met strict standards of safety and effectiveness. Safety in vaccines is always paramount and the MHRA will have carefully scrutinised the evidence to ensure that the benefits exceed the risk.

“The British Society for Immunology is committed to working with Government, our members and the public to ensure that COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues in a manner that maximises safety and protection while minimising the impact of the pandemic.”