Covid vaccinations for children between the ages of 12 and 15 in Jersey have moved a step closer with the decision by the UK's most senior health officials to back the plans.
On Monday afternoon, the UK's Chief Medical Officers decided that giving children in that age group one dose of an approved covid vaccine would help prevent disruption to their education.
Their decision isn't binding in Jersey - and the island's health officials have so far followed the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Last week the JVCI ruled against recommending vaccination for children under 15, on exclusively medical grounds, but they did ask the CMOs to look at the issue more broadly, and take into account other benefits, such as minimising disruption to learning:
"The assessment by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is that the health benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms. However, the margin of benefit is considered too small to support universal vaccination of healthy 12 to 15 year olds at this time.
"It is not within the JCVI’s remit to consider the wider societal impacts of vaccination, including educational benefits. The government may wish to seek further views on the wider societal and educational impacts from the Chief Medical Officers of the UK 4 nations.
"There is evidence of an association between mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis. This is an extremely rare adverse event. The medium- to long-term effects are unknown and long-term follow-up is being conducted.
"Given the very low risk of serious COVID-19 disease in otherwise healthy 12 to 15 year olds, considerations on the potential harms and benefits of vaccination are very finely balanced and a precautionary approach was agreed."
Pictured: So far Jersey has given just under half of 16 and 17 year olds one dose of the covid vaccine.
But on Monday the four CMOs ruled in favour of giving the vaccine, meaning Ministers in the four UK jurisdictions, and in Jersey, will now have to decide whether to follow their recommendation. Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondre commented,
“We are aware of the advice that the Chief Medical Officers in the UK have issued to their ministers and Secretaries of State on the universal vaccination of 12 to 15 year olds. Relevant authorities in Jersey will be meeting this week to consider this advice and a further update will be given shortly.”
If they do go ahead, it is likely the children will be given the Pfizer vaccine. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12-15 in May this year.
There are four Chief Medical Officers in the United Kingdom: Professor Chris Whitty, the CMO for England and to the UK government; Dr Michael McBride the CMO to the Northern Ireland executive; Dr Gregor Smith, the CMO to the Scottish government; and, Dr Frank Atherton the CMO to the Welsh government.
Meanwhile, as previously reported by Express, Jersey's Chief Minister has confirmed again that there will be a vaccination booster program in Jersey before the end of this year, with plans to be announced at another media briefing this week.
Pictured: Jersey will be offering a booster program for covid vaccinations before the end of this year.
Speaking to Express, Senator John Le Fondré, commented:
“We are aware that the UK will release their COVID-19 winter strategy, and we have been planning our own announcement for later this week. Although rates of infection in Jersey are likely to rise and fall perhaps several times over autumn and winter, we are in a very good place and our successful vaccination programme has changed our strategy towards COVID-19.
"The Competent Authority Ministers (CAM) have been meeting over recent months to develop our plans for the coming winter, on the advice of Public Health and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC). Plans include a provision for COVID-19 boosters and guidance on how we can all play our part in minimising risk. I will be making an announcement with full details of our plans at a press conference in the next few days.”
Jersey is currently offering the covid vaccine to everyone aged 16 and above, with more than two in five 16 and 17 year olds having had their first vaccination - there is also a series of 'Rock-up' vaccination sessions running this week, between 15:00 and 17:00.
So far, 84% of people aged over 18 are now fully vaccinated.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.