The Covid vaccination programme for under 16s begins today. The RPS is supportive of the UK's Chief Medical Officers’ position to offer a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all children aged between 12 and 15 years old, and to seek further advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on a second dose.
Due to the low risk of serious COVID-19 disease or complications in this age group, initial review by the JCVI on COVID-19 vaccination of children aged 12-15 found the health benefits are marginally greater than the known harms.
RPS believes a broader population view must also be considered.
First, the CMOs rightly note that a lack of schooling increases inequalities, reduces the life chances of children and can exacerbate physical and mental health issues.
Second, there is evidence from the US of the increasing number of young children being infected with the coronavirus .
Third, the impact of immunisation on reducing transmission of coronavirus in the wider population, including those who may be vulnerable to infection, should be considered.
In conclusion, RPS supports the proactive immunisation of healthy children aged between 12 years to 15 years in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus. This will be beneficial not only to this age group of but also to the wider population.