JCVI recommends Covid vaccine for vulnerable 5-11-year-olds

2 mins read

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Tags: covid, vaccination

High-risk children aged 5-11 will soon have access to the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has agreed to recommend its roll-out this afternoon. This follows approval from the medicines watchdog today.

The vaccines committee has proposed that clinically vulnerable children over 5 are offered the jab immediately – though it stopped short of recommending a wider roll-out to all primary-aged youngsters. Eligibility will be based on the same ‘clinical risk groups’ already defined in the Green Book.

Eligible 5-11-year-olds should get two 10mg doses of the Pfizer vaccine eight weeks apart. The minimum interval between a vaccine dose and recent Covid infection should be of four weeks.

Una Summerson, Contact’s campaigns manager, said: “We are delighted that the JCVI has listened to our campaign and to the voices of thousands of families who have felt neglected as they shielded in fear over the past 22 months. A decision will offer these families a long-overdue route out of lockdown as many high-risk children under 12 haven’t been to school in almost two years.

“It is essential that government move swiftly to accept the JCVI’s recommendation and start inviting high risk children aged 5-11 for their vaccine. With cases soaring as the Omicron variant rips through the UK, we cannot see a repeat of this year’s slow-paced and complicated roll-out which left countless parent carers struggling to secure an appointment for their high-risk children aged 12-15. This means issuing clear and urgent guidance to GPs and vaccination centres so that families don’t face yet more barriers.

“We also hope that eligibility criteria will remain in line with the established clinical risk groups for children aged 12-15 as defined in the government’s Green Book. Importantly, eligibility must be broad enough to include children with learning disabilities or autism – some of whom are unable to communicate when they are ill or may struggle mentally with the fear of contracting Covid.”

As has been the case previously, it is likely that governments across all four UK nations will accept the JCVI’s recommendation.

For more information on the Covid vaccine for 5-11-year-olds, take a look at our FAQs.