The Covid-19 vaccine booster programme and jabs for 12- to 15-year-olds could be given the go-ahead within days, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has said.
Mr Javid stated he expected to hear from the UK’s four chief medical officers within days on whether they recommended jabs for all 12- to 15-year-olds. Although parental consent will be sought, the child’s decision ‘will prevail’ if they are believed to be competent enough, he added.
He told Sky News today: ‘I want to give [the chief medical officers] the breathing space, it’s their independent view and that’s exactly what it should be. But I would expect to hear from them in the next few days.’
He continued: ‘If there is a difference of opinion between the child and the parent then we have specialists that work in this area, the school vaccination service. They would usually literally sit down with the parent and the child, and try to reach some kind of consensus.
‘If ultimately that doesn’t work, as long as we believe that the child is competent enough to make this decision then the child will prevail,’ he said.
Mr Javid also said he was ‘very confident’ that the Covid booster programme will begin this month, but he is waiting for advice from the JCVI expected in the next few days.
This comes after the JCVI did not recommend jabs for 12- to 15-year-olds last week. The four chief medical officers are reviewing the matter further and will have the final say.
The JCVI said the Covid jab should not be recommended to those in this age group because of an extremely rare side effect of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines causing heart inflammation. But it advised the government to look at ‘wider issues’ including the impact of the virus on schooling.
However, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine for use in teenagers aged 12 to 15, the Government has announced.
Interim JCVI guidance released in June said over-50s should be offered Covid boosters at the same time as a flu jab, while those who got their initial Covid jabs when the roll-out began last December would be first on the list again.