Care home vaccines 'shouldn't be mandatory' says Dr Amir
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NHS England chief Sir Simon Stevens recently suggested all over-18s could book a Covid jab by the end of this week. The news came just days after the programme opened to under-30s and under-25s. Ministers need the programme to equip 66 percent of the country with complete doses by July 19, meaning millions more people need to sign up.
Will children ever get a Covid vaccine?
Covid mitigation measures have postponed in-person schooling several times during the pandemic, but primarily in a bid to control infections.
Children tend not to suffer the ill effects of COVID-19 as adults do, with negligible death rates amongst the youngest populations.
Between the first and second Covid wave, just 12 children died in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Adults suffer disproportionately, meaning their wellbeing dominates Government decisions.
As such, the oldest and most vulnerable adults had their vaccines first.
And there are no immediate plans to offer them to young children.
Trade minister Liz Truss revealed the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has no plans to recommend vaccines for children.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she added the Government would outline its position following the committee’s recommendations.
Health experts believe the only reason to vaccinate children is to protect others.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, one JCVI source touched on other questions surrounding a children’s vaccine programme.
They said: “There are a lot more things to consider with this than with the adult vaccination programme.
“What is the benefit to children versus the possible harm? What are the legal and ethical issues? Could it be rolled out in schools if it went ahead? Should we be using vaccines for children when so many places are struggling to immunise adults?”
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But one Sage member said youngsters should not be vaccinated just to protect others.
Calum Semple told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme: “The risk of death is one in a million. That’s not a figure and plucking from the air, that’s a quantifiable risk.
“We know in wave one and wave two put together there were 12 deaths in children – in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, put together – and that is rare because there are about 13 to 14 million children in the UK.
“We’re talking about vaccinating children here mainly to protect public health and reduce transmission, and it’s accepted that teenagers for biologically more like adults are more likely to transmit.
“But the younger children really are not, they’re about a half to a third as likely to acquire the virus. And similarly to pass it on.
“So we’re now coming into really interesting ethical and moral debate here about vaccinating children for the benefit of others.”
The Government has continued to intensify its efforts to promote adult vaccinating and has recently shifted focus to care home staff.
Covid jabs will soon become mandatory for all staff and may extend the requirement to the NHS as a whole.
The Guardian reported ministers will soon commit to mandatory vaccinations for England’s 1.5 million social care workers.
Plans would include an ultimatum requiring people to accept their jab or forfeit their jobs within 16 weeks.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned the move will “raise new ethical and legal implications.”
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