Covid-19 vaccines could be delivered to teenagers in schools at the beginning of the next school year if health agencies in the UK approve their use for the 12-18 age group, the Deputy Medical Officer for Health has said.
Dr Ivan Muscat said it is “entirely possible” that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will be authorising the use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for teenagers.
He explained that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US had approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine in 12 to 18-year-olds about two months ago and that the European Medicines Agency had adopted the same approach.
Yesterday, France’s President Emmanuel Macron announced vaccines would be offered to all 12 to 18-year-olds from 15 June.
Pictured: Dr Ivan Muscat, the Deputy Medical Officer for Health.
Speaking to the media during the Government’s weekly briefing on the vaccination programme, Dr Muscat said that while Jersey is awaiting the decision of the UK health authorities on whether or not to extend the scheme to this age category, discussions are already taking place about how it would take place.
“The MHRA and JCVI are awaiting trial results before making a decision but of course their thinking will be influenced by the decisions of the US and European authorities as well,” he explained.
“We are therefore already thinking that it is entirely possible that they will be authorising the use of Pfizer and possibly Moderna for the 12 to 18-year-olds and we are thinking about how we would roll out such a programme if and once they agree that it is the way forward but we have always stipulated that we are firmly bound to the JCVI and MHRA in terms of our programme and we will await their deliberations and recommendations before we do anything.”
Dr Muscat said that if the UK authorities do approval the use of the vaccine for teenagers, they will do so after the current vaccination programme is completed in Jersey and in the UK. Ross Barnes, the Operations Lead for the covid-19 Vaccination Programme, confirmed during the briefing that, based on current supply, all eligible islanders should have received both of their doses by the middle of August.
The Deputy Medical Officer for Health said that therefore a decision is likely to come around the time schools open up after the summer break.
“Of course, the delivery of vaccines within a school setting is much more efficient than delivering a vaccine programme outside a school setting so if that opportunity is available to us that would be the opportunity we would pursue,” he said.
As of 30 May, 60,961 first doses had been administered, as well as 47,616 second doses, making a total of 108,577. This represents 57% and 44% of the population.
Overall, 90% of Islanders aged over 50-years old and those in at-risk groups have now received both doses. 87% of those over 35 have had at least one dose.
Meanwhile, islanders aged 25 to 29 will be able to make a booking from tomorrow, with the first appointments available from this weekend.
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