England extends COVID-19 vaccinations to healthy children aged 5 and over – POLITICO

England today opens its COVID-19 vaccination program to healthy children aged five to 11, bringing the country in line with the rest of Europe, which has been offering the vaccine to young children for several months.

Families can book online or visit a walk-in center with their young children to receive their first shot of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. The mRNA shot contains a third of the dose offered to those over 12 years of age, and the second shot is offered 12 weeks later.

Health Minister Sajid Javid said the offer will increase protection “as we learn to live with this virus”.

He added that healthy children are at low risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and that the NHS’ priority remains to provide vaccines and booster shots to adults and vulnerable young people, as well as catching up on other childhood vaccination programmes.

The vaccine has already been offered to vulnerable children in this group.

Some parents and scientists have been campaigning for more widespread access to the vaccine for young children for some time. The Jab was approved for use in this age group in late December.

Although unlikely to become very ill from the infection, an estimated 2 per cent of children will develop long-term COVID, noted Nathalie MacDermott, a lecturer at King’s College London this week.

She said the risk of a side effect of heart inflammation in children who get the vaccine is very rare, at about one in 20,000, while their risk of a long COVID is about one in 50. “Why wasn’t that taken into account when we were considering vaccinating our children? ?” she asked at the Royal Society conference on the science of COVID on Thursday.

An analysis by the UK Health Security Agency found that vaccinated people are less likely to have COVID for a long time.

Meanwhile, infections continue to increase following the winter Delta and Omicron waves. Still, the country on Friday ended free access to lateral flow testing, except for frontline health and social workers, and restricted PCR testing to people in hospitals, hospices and vulnerable groups.

Experts, including Chief Scientific Advisor Patrick Vallance, have warned that if people relax on social behavior, these steps will lead to increased transmission.

Across Europe, the history of vaccination is very different. Countries have been offering the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine to children as young as five for several months after the European Medicines Agency recommended the lower dose for this group in November.

In addition, many EU countries, including Bulgaria, are offering the Moderna vaccination to children as young as six years old, which was approved in Europe at the end of February. Moderna’s vaccine is not yet approved in this younger cohort in the UK England extends COVID-19 vaccinations to healthy children aged 5 and over - POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

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