JCVI updates advice on vaccinations for 5 to 11 age group

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has updated its vaccination advice for children aged 5 to 11, with a view to increasing protection against potential future waves of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Although this age group is generally at very low risk of serious illness from the virus, a very small number of children who get infected do develop severe disease.

Latest evidence suggests that offering the vaccine ahead of another potential wave will protect this very small number of children from serious illness and hospitalisation – and will also provide some short-term protection against mild infection across the age group.

The committee has therefore advised a non-urgent offer to all 5 to 11 year olds of 2 (10mcg) doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech paediatric vaccine. The 2 doses should be given with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of COVID-19 immunisation on the JCVI, said:

“The committee has carefully considered the potential direct health impacts of vaccination and potential indirect educational impacts.

“The main purpose of offering vaccination to 5 to 11 year olds is to increase their protection against severe illness in advance of a potential future wave of COVID-19.

“Other important childhood vaccinations, such as MMR and HPV, have fallen behind due to the pandemic. It is vital these programmes continue and are not displaced by the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to this age group.”

Elements of this story have been shared under the Open Government license.

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