Contact calls for information about vaccines for high-risk children on Channel 4 News

Thursday 25 February 2021

Last night on Channel 4 News, our Head of Campaigns called for more information on Covid-19 vaccines for clinically vulnerable children.

Watch it again:  Vulnerable young people refused Covid jab despite doctors recommending vaccine – Channel 4 News

There are 61,800 children shielding across the UK. While adults who are shielding are starting to receive a Covid vaccination, tens of thousands of clinically extremely vulnerable children have no access to a vaccine and no roadmap out of lockdown.

Contact is calling for clarity from the government on plans to develop and roll out a vaccine for high-risk children. Many have been left shielding and unable to return to school. Their families want and need information.

The Covid vaccines are not currently licensed for use with children, although trials have started with youngsters of secondary school age. The guidance does say that in exceptional circumstances older children at greatest risk of exposure to Covid and becoming seriously ill, may be able to get the vaccine after talks with doctors and parents. This would be unlicensed use. But it is only used in the most rare and extreme cases.

Desperate for information

Una Summerson, Head of Policy at Contact, said: “We are seeking clarity from the government about its plans to develop and roll out a Covid vaccine for high-risk children. There are tens of thousands of children up and down the country who have been shielding for a year. While shielding adults are starting to be vaccinated, there is no roadmap out for children. Their families are understandably desperate for information.

“While we wait for vaccine approval for clinically vulnerable children it is essential as many parent carers are vaccinated as soon as possible to create protection for their children. We would also like to see special school staff treated as part of the care workforce and prioritised for vaccination, so again there is protection afforded to high-risk children.”

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