Covid booster vaccine: JCVI extends programme to some children aged 12-17

2 mins read

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Tags: covid, vaccination, Covid-19 booster

The vaccines committee has recommended extending the booster vaccination programme to all 16-17-year-olds and to vulnerable children aged 12-15.

This would include 12-15-year-olds who are in one of the Green Book’s clinical risk groups, live with someone who is immunosuppressed, or who are severely immunosuppressed themselves and have already had their third primary dose.

All cohorts should be offered a 30mg booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine no sooner than three months after their second dose.

It is highly likely that UK ministers will accept today’s recommendation by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

According to the JCVI, prioritisation of the booster vaccine within these eligible cohorts should “generally be in the order of descending age groups, or clinical risk, whichever is more expedient.” In practice, this means that healthy 16-17-year-olds should not take age-based priority over children who are at higher risk. High-risk children should start getting their boosters after adults in equivalent clinical risk groups.

Today’s recommendation will be welcome news to many families whose vulnerable children already received their second jab more than three months ago. Many have been understandably worried about facing winter without this protection amid a sharp rise in Omicron-related Covid cases.

It also comes alongside the decision to offer the vaccine to high-risk 5-11-year-olds in clinical risk groups, though the JCVI stopped short of recommending it to all primary-aged children.

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