Covid restrictions to be lifted, leaving many clinically vulnerable children feeling unsafe

Monday 5 July 2021

Tags: covid, vaccine, clinically vulnerable children, shielding

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tonight announce that Covid restrictions in England will be lifted on July 19. Contact is dismayed that this is being done before making vaccines available to clinically vulnerable youngsters.

Amanda Batten, Chief Executive of Contact the charity for families with disabled children, said: “While many will celebrate today’s announcement, spare a thought for clinically vulnerable children who still can’t access the vaccine. Their families have never felt so unsafe as restrictions lift and cases continue to rise.

“Many desperately want their child to have access to the vaccine but are denied by the current guidance which is so narrow and not fit for purpose. It is a month since the vaccine was shown to be safe for 12-15 year olds, yet youngsters who shielded at the advice of government because they are more vulnerable to severe illness from Covid, have still not been granted access.

“Today was an opportunity to show disabled children and their families that they are part of the planning, but yet again their increasingly desperate situation has been ignored. There are 60,000 children in the UK who were asked to shield during the pandemic. Our research has found that 12% continue to shield, missing out on school and seeing friends. This is having a huge impact on their siblings too.”

Contact carried out a survey about vaccines with 3000 families with disabled children responding in March 2021 – before the vaccine was approved for 12-15 year olds. Almost 70% of parents wanted their disabled child to have the vaccine when it had been through the trials and been approved. Only 1.5% of those aged 12-15 had been able to get the vaccine off-label for their child, showing the difficulty and frustration of using this route.

Contact’s FAQs on vaccines includes information about off-label use of the vaccine