JCVI guidance on Covid-19 vaccine for high-risk children aged 5-11

4 mins read

Contact has put together answers to your questions on the recommendation to vaccinate high-risk children from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

JCVI advice applies to England and Wales. We expect the Scotland and Northern Ireland governments, who have acted on previous JCVI advice, to follow this recommendation. 

What is the JCVI saying?

Children aged 5-11 at increased risk of Covid-19 should now be offered the Pfizer vaccine, which the UK regulator said was safe and effective for this age group.

This includes children aged 5-11 years old who are in one of the clinical risk groups outlined in the government’s Green Book.

The JCVI also recommends that children aged 5 -11 who live with an immunosuppressed person should be offered the vaccine.

Will all children aged 5-11 be able to get the Pfizer vaccine now?

No. The JCVI has only recommended that children aged 5-11 who fall into one of the clinical risk groups should be offered the vaccine.

The JCVI is not recommending routine vaccination for 5-11 year olds outside high risk groups, so this does leave some gaps in eligibility for disabled children aged 5-11 and under 5s still can’t access the vaccine.

Further advice regarding COVID-19 vaccination for other 5 to 11 year olds will be issued in due course following consideration of additional data relevant to this age group, and on the Omicron variant more broadly.

What is the government doing in response to the JCVI advice?

The Westminster government has said it will follow the JCVI guidance and is making plans to extend the UK vaccine programme and is updating guidance. 

See here for updated government guidance (called the Green Book):  COVID-19: the green book, chapter 14a – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

How and when will my child get offered a vaccine?

Each UK government must now make plans on how they will offer eligible children a vaccine including a timetable for implementing it.

We will update this page when we see the plans.

Should I contact my child’s GP/clinician now?

Yes, it is important to have a discussion with your child’s GP or clinician about the benefits or risks of them having a Covid vaccine.

Will I have to prove my child needs a vaccine?

We are unsure at this stage. The government guidance should provide more information.  We will update this page when we know more.

Are they using the same definition of clinically extremely vulnerable for children asked to shield?

No. There may be some cross-over with this list but the JCVI advice is that this new guidance applies to children aged 5 -11 who are in one of the clinical risk groups outlined in the Green Book.

What happens if I want the vaccine for my child but they don’t fall into those categories?

Speak to your GP or clinician about this. They will be able to clarify the categories and whether or not your child falls into them.

What should I do if my GP/clinicians refuses my child a vaccine?

Please email una.summerson@contact.org.uk.  We will collect issues and raise them with government officials.

My child is under 5, can they get a vaccine?

No.

What about children living in household with a clinically vulnerable adults?

The JCVI advice is that children aged 5 -11 that live in same household as immunosuppressed adult should have the Pfizer vaccine.

The government agrees, however we are unsure how these children will be identified and offered the vaccine. You should speak to their GP until we know more.

Does the JCVI guidance apply to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland too?

JCVI advice is only statutory in England and Wales, but usually the Scotland and Northern Ireland governments have followed previous JCVI advice and we expect then to follow suit.