Relief for clinically vulnerable youngsters and their families as some are given access to a Covid vaccine

Monday 19 July 2021

Tags: vaccination, Covid-19, clinically vulnerable children

The government committee on vaccinations and the Vaccines Minister announced on Monday 19 July that children aged 12 and over at increased risk of Covid-19 will be offered the Pfizer vaccine, which the UK regulator said was safe and effective for this age group last month. 

Who is eligible?

This includes children aged 12 to 15 with severe neurodisabilities, Down syndrome, immunosuppression or profound and multiple or severe learning disabilities.

The Joint Commission on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI) also recommends that children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person should be offered the vaccine.

The JCVI is not recommending routine vaccination outside of these age or risk groups.

So this does leave some gaps in eligibility for disabled young people and those under 12 still can’t access the vaccine.

Contact’s view

Amanda Batten, Chief Executive of disability charity Contact, said: “Today’s announcement by the JCVI and Vaccines Minister will be of huge relief to many families of clinically vulnerable youngsters in the UK. Some are still shielding and are desperate for their child to be vaccinated, so they can get back to school and friends. Since the Pfizer vaccine was found safe for 12-15 year olds by the UK regulator in June, they have felt abandoned and frustrated that the guidance has taken so long. Many families felt fearful as cases have risen and restrictions lifted.

“It’s vital that the roll-out to the identified groups is done as swiftly as possible. The timing of today’s announcement means that these youngsters won’t get two jabs before schools go back in September. And we are concerned there will be some families disappointed because their child doesn’t fall into the categories identified today as able to get the vaccine. They were asked to shield at the advice of government and some are understandably still worried. They need reassurance that their child is no longer at risk of serious illness with data and facts used by the JCVI in drawing up their list.

“Families have campaigned tirelessly for this day over the last seven months, speaking out, writing to the JCVI and Vaccines Minister and we are proud to have worked alongside them.”

Answers to your questions about JCVI announcement

We have been told by the NHS that eligible children will receive invitations from their GP or clinician over the coming weeks.  The NHS have asked that families not to contact their GP or clinician yet.

We have written some questions and answers for families about what the JCVI announcement.

Read the latest guidance in full.